Ju-Hyun Kim reimagines New York's oldest borough
Manhattan Mountain project, the idea of topping off the bix box retailers with a massive artificial mountain, is proposed by Ju-Hyun Kim, who is dismayed at the news that big box stores would be hitting the Lower East Side as part of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA), which was remaining as the largest undeveloped city-owned land south of 96th street of Manhattan.
Since the design of these stores conflict with the architecture of Manhattan, hiding them beneath the Mountain is a solution to incorporate their presence into the cityscape, however,more importantly, the environmentally-friendly Mountain will have a crucial role in offsetting the negative environmental effect of big box retailers: while the retailers will inevitably create massive carbon footprints, the Mountain would work to counteract the potential damage to the environment and provide necessary renewable energy to the stores.
The elevated park would create a new natural environment for plant life as well as a habitat for birds, butterflies and small animals. Also,the mountain will provide activities that a metropolis didn't dream of accommodating before: hiking, mountain biking, picnic on the hills, rock climbing, snowboarding, etc.
The typology proposed by Manhattan Mountain challenges New York City's current zoning regulations. It incorporates the elements of a landscape, housing and commercial activity in an unconventional form. Many architects and urban planners have criticized the stifling regulations of the outdated Zoning Code, which was last revised in 1961. Mr. Kim's proposal brings a new imagination of the urbanscapeand offers a fresh look at design possibilities that are uncompromised by the Zoning Resolution. At the same time, unprecendeted way of provision of public space on top of big box retailers can be applied to any other development which includes large corporate retailers.