WXY Studio suggests greening Grand Central area in invited competition
WXY's design proposal has sought for ways of bringing new energy and activity to this neighbourhood. They believe this can be achieved by reinvigorating a number of key places in the surrounding area. The base of the MetLife building will act as a starting point where there will be a new open space created.
The architects have designed the space as a cultural anchor which will open up Vanderbilt Avenue and create seamless access to the tracks underground. In addition to this part of the proposal is to transform the Park Avenue viaduct.
WXY's proposal would create a striking new ground transportation hub, through the following interventions:
- Transforming Vanderbilt Avenue into a pedestrian-only street
- Creating new public spaces around the base of the MetLife building
- Adapting the west side of the current Park Avenue Viaduct into an elevated pedestrian and bicycle path, with a glass floor and seasonal plantings
- Introducing a new tower, featuring "sky parks," on the west side of Grand Central Terminal
Claire Weisz, Principal at WXY, has commented: "New zoning rules should trigger real transportation links to public space. One way is to harness the untapped potential of Grand Central's edges. The plan for Midtown's near future needs to make the Grand Central neighbourhood a place people enjoy being in, not just running through."
The complete proposal also includes a towering tapered structure which is reminiscent of Renzo Piano's recently-completed Shard at London Bridge. Coated in highly reflective glazed panels, WXY's tower has the additional feature of projecting ledges with green foliage, adding a little greenery to this otherwise neutral environment. Luscious plant-life can also be found in renderings of the MetLife building.
President of The Municipal Art Society of New York (which is running the competition) Vin Cipolla said: "There is perhaps no building more important in New York City than Grand Central. It is the anchor of a major commercial business district, a critical piece of infrastructure, and one of our most important urban transportation hubs. It is also one of the world’s great public spaces."
Foster + Partners and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) are also taking place in the Grand Central...The Next 100 competition.