Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Green Swath Through Wright's "Incongruous Mantrap"

Wright once described New York City as "A vast prison with glass fronts, incongruous mantrap of momentous dimension." Given his love / hate relationship with the city, one has to wonder what Wright would think of the newly-opened High Line Park on Manhattan's west side. The park is the result of an innovative concept that pushes the envelope of adaptive reuse: recycling a section of unsightly, rusting elevated train platform into a beautifully landscaped park for the enjoyment of New Yorkers. The High Line project was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the New York based firm known for other cutting-edge projects such as the "Blur" building and Boston Institute of Contemporary Art. Their website offers one of the coolest applications of navigational animation that I've seen.

Contemplating the High Line project, I feel sure that Wright would be smiling quietly to himself. Though he might be dismayed at some of the details of this design, I think he would appreciate the spirit of the project: to create an elevated green space in the midst of the concrete-and-glass canyons of Manhattan, a deliberate insertion of nature that counters the "incongruous mantrap" of New York's density.

1 comment:

Richard Beatty said...

a truly wonderous experience to meander above the streets of "Chelsea" on the west side of NYC. The views of the Hudson and the Empire State Building with wildflowers in the foreground are truly unique. Once again, people with vision, perseverance and commitment have turned a "sow's ear into a silk purse." Put this walking park on your list of places to experience in the City. Put it well ahead of Times Square in my opinion.