[dropcap size=big]U[/dropcap]sing jet engines, air conditioned soil and recycled rain water, the 2.4-hectare public park will be a “model for 21st century urban space”.
Located in Midtown Manhattan, alongside the Hudson River, at the northerly end of the elevated High Line park (one of New York’s most-visited tourist attractions), Hudson Yards is the largest private real-estate development in US history.
In addition to 2.4-hectares of green space, it will have more than 1.5 million sqm of commercial and residential space, more than 100 shops and restaurants, 5,000 apartments, a cultural centre and a 200-room Equinox-branded luxury hotel. The first phase it due for completion in 2019.
The development is built on a giant platform that covers a working rail yard beneath, meaning the park’s soil could get too hot for plants to thrive.
To combat this, “a sophisticated network of tubing will circulate cooling liquids to protect the plants’ roots”. In addition, to lower the temperature of the rail yard underneath, a ventilation system powered by 15 commercial jet engines fans will supply fresh air at 45 miles per hour.
The park’s soil base will only be 18 inches deep for plants and four feet for trees, so a “sandwich” of sand, gravel and concrete slabs will protect roots, while rainwater will be collected in a 60,000 gallon tank and used for irrigation.
Designed by award-winning firm Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, the park will be unlike any other in the city. As well as various high-tech elements, it will include 28,000 shrubs, 200 mature trees, almost a mile of pedestrian walkways and thousands of native perennials and wildflowers that attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Thomas Woltz, owner of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, said: “Parks and open spaces define neighbourhoods and become an important connection for the surrounding communities. For Manhattan’s West Side, the Hudson Yards public square will serve as the main intersection, bringing all of New York City together.”
He added: “The design of the public square prompted unprecedented innovation and deep collaboration across disciplines, including soil science, horticulture and landscape architecture. What has emerged is a project that will serve as a model for 21st century urban spaces.”