The Three Projects That Will (Finally) Define Manhattan's Far West Side

William Millard, Tom Stoelker, and Caitlin Blanchfield discuss three long-awaited, major developments that are finally taking shape on Manhattan's Far West Side: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, the third section of the High Line, and Hudson Yards.
April 18, 2012, 6am PDT | Ryan Lue
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As we reported last December, Manhattan's Far West Side has recently become the focal point of considerable development interest, sparked by an ill-fated bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics. Now, three projects several years in the making are beginning to find their legs, and stand to emblematize the transformation of this once-untended neighborhood.

One of those projects is the renovation of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Constructed in 1986, the original Javits Center was plagued by a number of problems, not the least of which were "political penny-pinching and neglected maintenance," Millard explains. But FXFOWLE, the agency leading the renovation, is optimistic that modern materials and technologies will allow "the building's strengths to outweigh its acknowledged limitations."

Another is Section 3 of the High Line, an elevated linear park created three years ago. This new phase of the park will bring public and private space into close contact, "wrapping around" Related Properties' Hudson Yards and cutting through the 100-year-old Coach Building. "We never wanted High Line to become part of the Hudson Yards opens space," admitted Friends of the High Line co-founder Robert Hammond. "We wanted it to maintain a separate identity."

Lastly, Hudson Yards itself aims, in the words of project director Marianne Kwok, to stitch the urban fabric together by integrating transit, parks, and thoroughfares as users circulate through the various surrounding uses (residential, commercial, convention). Matthew Urbanski, principal at the firm designing Hudson Yard's "pedestrian spine," notes, "Circulation flows were the most important aspect of the design."

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Published on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 in The Architect's Newspaper
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