Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) presented plans for “Grand Central’s Next 100,” which includes restructured public spaces and a circular observation deck above Grand Central Station at the Municipal Art Society (MAS) of New York’s third annual Summit for New York City. In anticipation of the landmark’s centennial, the challenge to re-imagine public areas surrounding one of the main transit arteries in New York City was extended to Foster + Partners and WXY Architecture, as well as SOM.
Led by partners Roger Duffy, FAIA, and T.J. Gottesdiener, FAIA, SOM’s design creates new pedestrian corridors for increased circulation and opens the possibility for new public amenities; an important consideration if a rezoning proposal from the New York City Department of Planning allows for the development of new office towers in the area around Grand Central. Privately owned public spaces (POPS) at the street level would be restructured to open pedestrian corridors through multiple city blocks, connecting Grand Central to nearby attractions. The public realm would be condensed to create multiple levels above and below existing space, funded privately but under public ownership. An active, 24-hour precinct was also proposed in the form of a circular pedestrian observation deck, suspended above Grand Central Station for 360-degree views of the city.
“Throughout the history of New York City, urban growth has been matched by grand civic gestures,” says Duffy. “This balance between growth and civic response can be seen in examples such as the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811 which led to the gridded parceling of land, two zoning resolutions which recognized the potential for private development to shape the public realm and the creation of grand public place making such as Grand Central Terminal and the public parks of New York City. With the Department of City Planning’s proposed up-zoning of East Midtown and the anticipated completion of East Side Access in 2019, the city prepares itself for a new phase of urban growth. A consequence of this imminent growth in population density will be an increased demand for public space.”
To learn more visit SOM.com.