The Lowline project in New York has received first-stage planning approval from city authorities, marking a key step towards the creation of an underground park.
It aims to use solar technology to transform the abandoned former Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal on the Lower East Side of Manhattan into a 0.4ha underground park, using an innovative canopy to deliver sunlight for the plants to grow.
New York deputy mayor for housing and economic development Alicia Glen said: “The Lowline represents an incredible fusion of technology and public space. For 80 years, this underground space has sat idle. Now we’re putting it to use for the people of the Lower East Side and for all New Yorkers to enjoy. We can’t wait to see this experiment unfold.”
Lowline co-founder and creator James Ramsey of architects and engineers Raad Studio added: “Every designer dreams of doing civic work that contributes to society and to the profession. Over the last eight years, we just stuck to what we thought was a great idea that could make our city and our community better. We’re thrilled to move ahead on designing and building a space that people will enjoy for generations to come.”
Some £7.5M needs to be raised to build the park.
Arup worked on feasibility studies for the project, testing the site and the proposed designs for safety and constructability. Staff involved in the project have included structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and geotechnical engineers; fire/life safety, code and acoustic consultants; and lighting and tunnel designers.