High Line ECOcenter
Currently the elevated, industrial railway in Chelsea, Manhattan known as the High Line is undergoing a massive adaptive reuse project. Soon, the High Line will be a unique, linear public park that intersects with buildings adjacent to its serpentine path. At the present time the design for the Highline does not provide for maintenance facilities for the park and its distinctive assortment of native plants and water features. The High Line EcoTower, situated on 10th Avenue between 17th and 18th Streets, was designed to provide a maintenance center for the Highline Park that can accommodate large machinery such as cranes and tractors, a greenhouse, and storage space on the south end of the site.
The forty-two story tower on the north is mixed use: commercial on the lower floors and residential apartments on the topeight floors. Inspired by Patrick Blanc, the Living Wall on the south side of the tower is a vertical garden with municipally maintained vegetation on the commercial occupation levels and individually cultivated gardens at the residential levels. The wall is held off the thermal barrier of the building by ten feet thereby making an occupiable outdoor passage way that provides shade in the summer, mediates strong gusts at the higher levels of the building and naturally filters air.
Built in the 1930s to serve the needs of the meat packing district service, the utility of the High Line was replaced by the trucking industry and the Westside Highway. The last trains ran on the track in the 1980s. For nearly two decades, the line sat vacant, becoming a natural urban park and popular destination for trespassers since flora blossomed along the abandoned rails.
In 1999 the group 'Friends of the Highline' was formed to save the historic line from destruction and following a competition, the firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro was selected to execute a scheme that was inspired by the elevated railways' planted patchwork. The line was converted into an elevated urban park and the first section opened in 2009.
Explore more about the history and design of the High Line here.