SOM reveals concept for Grand Central…The Next 100 by The Municipal Art Society of NY
The Next 100 competition has invited varying responses from the three firms involved: SOM, Foster + Partners and WXY Studio. The proposal presented by SOM, entitled '...from the perspective of the pedestrian...' takes a look at the balance between urban growth in New York and the civic response formed. As a result SOM have created a monumental design which incorporates Grand Central Station into two new skyscrapers. The new elements frame the renowned station with a circular viewing platform inserted in between them.
The panoramic ring is suspended above the station, connecting the two towers above Midtown as a new kind of public experience in the skyline of the city. The design embraces varying levels of public spaces, in particular looking at Privately Owned Public Spaces and re-imagining them as Privately Funded Public Spaces. This has allowed SOM to transform the space with a greater emphasis on the public.
"Throughout New York City's history significant urban growth has been matched by grand civic responses. The 1811 Commissioner's Plan, the creation of Central Park, zoning regulations in 1916 and 1961, and Grand Central Terminal itself have all resulted from this fundamental relationship," commented Roger Duffy, Design Partner at SOM.
The new elements either side may appear to tower over Grand Central but a gap designed between them has acted as new pedestrianized spaces which draws light down into the underground spaces. There have been new corridors created through the site to increase the pedestrian circulation particularly at spaces with increased densities. The streets surrounding the station, including Vanderbilt Avenue and the viaduct, have all been repurposed as public, pedestrianized spaces.
"MAS's call to focus on the public spaces in and around East Midtown is an opportunity to propose a rebalancing of this equation, increasing the quantity and quality of public space as the city contemplates significant densification in the area," says Roger Duffy.