The Concrete Jungle Goes Green with the Opening of the Public Square and Gardens
The concrete jungle is getting greener on Manhattan’s West Side. The much-anticipated five-acre Public Square and Gardens, which anchors the 28-acre Hudson Yards, is slated to start opening in phases later this month. Designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, the plaza features a central viewing tower by artist Thomas Heatherwick and a sinuous 130-foot-long bench that will make for “the best people-watching in the area,” says Thomas Woltz, a principal at the firm. “It was a challenge to bring our work to a place that everyone thought was devoid of culture and ecology.” Located above an active railyard, the park also features a cooling system that protects plantings from the trains’ heat.
Due in 2024, the mixed-use development Manhattan West will be located just one block east of Public Square and Gardens and feature a two-acre landscaped plaza by James Corner Field Operations, which oversaw the design and construction of the High Line. The firm is also working on a park with Diller Scofidio + Renfro as part of the Bjarke Ingels–designed XI residential towers, which will transform a full city block between 10th and 11th avenues in West Chelsea by 2020. (Swiss landscape architect Enzo Enea is designing the residents-only interior courtyard.)
And on Pier 55 near Chelsea Market, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, in collaboration with Heatherwick Studio, has started work on a $250 million futuristic green space that juts into the Hudson River. It’s expected to open in spring 2021.