This story is over 5 years old

Motherboard's FutureStructures Explores The Possibility Of An Underground Oasis In NYC

A deserted subway station could be turned into a sprawling subterranean park called the Lowline.

by Jennifer Mills
11 December 2012, 6:28pm

Opening a public park outdoors or in a clean, bright gallery space is one thing, but opening the Lowline—a proposed park beneath Delancey Street on NYC’s Lower East Side—presents much more of a challenge. But it is a challenge that Lowline architects have made some headway on. After finding out about the old trolley terminal, which was built in 1903 to house the old Williamsburg Bridge trolleys, one of the project’s co-founders James Ramsey started working on putting together a public space in this unused portion of New York’s underground.

Situated under the Delancey Street entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge, Ramsey proposed a sprawling underground park named “the Lowline” to couple it with Chelsea’s famous High Line. Although the project has not broken ground, the architects hosted a demonstration on September 13th of the how the park would function and presented all the findings from their engineering studies.

The Lowline’s innovative solar power. The biggest issue facing the project was the naturally dark space of the metro, which is not very welcoming to greenery which relies on photosynthesis. To circumvent the issue, the architects engineered a new solar technology which “treats light like a liquid.” Receptors on the surface track the sun as it moves across the sky, and funnels the light down into the Lowline through fiber-optic cables, redistributing it evenly through hexagonal solar plates on the ceiling.

The effect not only mimics natural light, but saves on energy and cost for lighting the space electronically. The designers hope that the park would serve as a green market, or at least an extension of the nearby Essex Market, as well as being a performance space for acts weary of busking on the subway.

Onlookers at the Lowline’s demonstration.

Rendering of the finished project.

Rendering of the finished project.

[via Motherboard]


public art
public space
Delancey Underground
James Ramsey