As the world population skyrockets and city spaces shrink, open spaces and parks are not a common sight. But, New York has a unique solution to offer to this problem. The city is coming up with an underground park! Yes, you read it right. Called the Lowline, the park is being developed in Delancey Street in New York City. This was why the park was formerly called the Delancey Underground.
What was the Inspiration?
The project takes inspiration from New York’s famous ‘High Line’, a 2.33 km-long elevated park which was developed on a railroad in the New York City. High Line opened in the year 2009 and has over 20 million visitors since then. This sowed the seed in the minds of the architects James Ramsey and Dan Barasch to build an underground park.
How are they Doing It?
The park is being built by transforming a large trolley terminal. Envisioned in 2009 and proposed in 2011, the project was quick to garner public attention. After raising about $150,000 in 2012, the project was started. The park will get natural sunlight by directing it below the ground using “remote skylights” which enable optical systems to provide natural light to unilluminated places. Artificial lighting would complement the system. The park will extend across three blocks and will have a height of 20 feet.
Let’s Learn about the Minds Behind Lowline
James Ramsey was the first person in whose mind this disruptive idea first germinated. A graduate from Yale University, Ramsey majored in architecture. He started his career as a satellite engineer for the American space agency NASA. His love for architecture motivated him to quit his job at NASA and open his own design studio called the Raad Studio. It was at Raad Studio where he discovered fiber optic technology to light underground areas using natural lighting. His interest in the history of New York City and a background in architecture and technology culminated into project Lowline. Ask him how he came up with the idea, Ramsey says he once had a dream of such a park and thought of literally turning his dream into reality.
The other creator Dan Barasch has donned many hats. Apart from designing the Lowline project, he has led several organizations and projects. His work at Google attracted Ramsey to approach him for Lowline. Barasch has also worked for the UNICEF, the New York City government, and the 9/11 Survivors’ Fund. Barasch is a prolific speaker and speaks about urban design and development. He has also authored a book called Ruin and Redemption in Architecture.
Lowline, an architectural wonder will be open for the public by 2021. The world population is thronging the cities at a much faster pace than we can ever imagine. United Nations statistics show that 2050 will see 70% of the world population in the cities. More urban population certainly means more challenges. The Lowline project is a unique solution by innovators who think on their feet, in this case, beneath their feet!
What are your thoughts on an underground park? Do let us know!
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