Like many US railway stations, New York’s Penn Station is a shadow of its former self. With redevelopment of the station hindered by its location under Madison Square Garden, the Municipal Art Society (MAS) of New York hopes to relocate the gardens and rebuild the station for the 21st century. Last week, the MAS announced four possible designs for Penn Station and Madison Square Garden as part of its Design Challenge aimed at replacing or remodelling the current structure.
The brief of the competition was to reimagine Pennsylvania or Penn Station as an “urban gateway” and move Madison Square Garden to a new location to allow for expansion. If realized, this redevelopment would be the most radical change to the station since the original building was controversially demolished in 1963 and rebuilt with the current Madison Square Garden on top of it.
The competition was prompted by expiration of Madison Square Garden’s permit, which its owners wish to have renewed in perpetuity. However, the MAS, in partnership with the Regional Plan Association, formed the Alliance for a New Penn Station with the objective of renewing the permit for only ten years to prompt redevelopment of the site. The final decision on the permit will be made by the New York City Council in July and the Design Challenge is intended to help build the case for a limited permit and redevelopment.
The Winning Designs
Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Josh SirefmanDubbed “Penn Station 3.0,” the Diller Scofidio + Renfro (
H3 Hardy Collaboration ArchitectureThe
SHoP Architects plan to expand the main hall of Penn Station to turn it into a bright, airy space that the designers see as the center of a new destination district called Gotham Gateway. Security and rail capacity would be improved and there would be new parks and amenities with a view to attracting private investment to help pay for the project, as well as a new High Line to connect with the relocated Madison Square Garden.