$50-million timber extension bridges the gap in NYC High Line
Since it opened in 2009, New York City's High Line has revolutionized city planning, with its success resulting in similar projects cropping up as far away as England and Singapore. Now its original co-creator, James Corner Field Operations, has returned to the famous raised walkway and, along with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, has extended it with an attractive new timber bridge that contrasts with the surrounding gleaming modern skyscrapers.
The High Line - Moynihan Connector actually consists of two bridges, which together form an L-shape over the city streets. The additional sections mean that pedestrians now have a continuous pathway between Moynihan Train Hall, Manhattan West, and the already existing High Line sections.
The most notable of the two bridges is the aptly named Timber Bridge, which is made up of 163 Alaskan yellow cedar glued laminated timber beams that were sourced from British Columbia, Canada. Once on-site, they were painstakingly fastened together at street level then craned into position. Now complete, the bridge measures 260 ft (almost 80 m) in length and weighs in at a hefty 256,704 lb (roughly 116,000 kg).
The Woodland Bridge it connects to is constructed from steel and spans 340 ft (roughly 103 m). It supports large soil-filled planters which are being used to grow trees and bushes that will, over time, create a lush landscape for birds and native pollinators.
"Responding to the site and context, the two bridges have their own architectural and structural expression and experience, and they are aesthetically united by a warm material palette of weathered steel decking and bronze handrails," explained SOM's press release. "The intersection of the two bridges creates a special moment of pause, allowing the visitor's orientation to shift from east-west to north-south while moving from an immersive woodland experience to an immersive timber experience.
"The planting on the Woodland Bridge shifts from high to low to create a varied expression as visitors move in each direction. The dynamic landscape allows pedestrians to see the timber structure rise over the diagonal pathway, creating a visual link to the trees in Manhattan West's public spaces for a distinct sense of place while guiding pedestrians to their destinations on both sides."
The project cost US$50 million to realize, with the funds raised between non-profit Friends of the High Line, Empire State Development, and Brookfield Properties. It officially opens to the pubic today, June 22.