THE HIGH LINE
New York, NY (2007)
Just as contributors to the 1960s design journal Archigram sought out new paradigms for dwelling, TerraGRAM, the MVVA-led team for the High Line competition, sought to transform the contemporary relationship between public space and urban ecology. In its highly developed competition entry, which was one of four finalists in a multi-tiered international competition, TerraGRAM proposed to colonize the High Line's length through a strategy combining immediate, gradual, and perpetually evolving occupation of the park’s elevated terrain.
TerraGRAM proposed largely reusing the site’s existing physical conditions, adding only an emergent volunteer ecology that would transform the High Line landscape into a system of community initiatives. The realization of the new park landscape plan was proposed to be incremental: soil remediation measures would precede landscape planting, which would precede park program. The act of building the park and overseeing its ecological evolution would be an immediately visible expression of landscape as a medium of process. Natural ecological succession, which had already created a compelling urban landscape atop the elevated rail free of human intervention, was to be the primary program generator. A series of new entry sequences to the High Line from the city streets below would celebrate the startling experience of seeing and entering a landscape from beneath it.
The MVVA team sought to transform the symbolism of the High Line from historic industrial boundary to park beacon, orienting surrounding communities on both sides around a central unifying landscape amenity.