Set in the middle of the sprawling urban jungle of Manhattan, Central park is one of the most recognizable landscapes in the world. This 1.3 square mile natural oasis sits among some of New York’s tallest skyscrapers and most densely populated areas. Central park was actually the first landscaped public park in the US. Millions of people travel to Central Park every year from all over the world, not to mention the millions of local New Yorkers who go there on a daily basis to escape the city. After almost 200 years of being an iconic American park, two award-winning architects have a plan that could revolutionize what has already been a revolutionary piece of land.
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Yitan Sun and Jianshi Wu say in their award-winning proposal, “only a fraction of them can enjoy Central Park’s natural environment on a daily basis, and most of the population either live or work beyond the walking distance from it. Is there a way to make Central Park available to more people?”
Their answer to this question comes in the form of an amazingly grand idea to excavate the current park to the bedrock exposing the mountains that are buried under the current landscape. Sun and Wu describe this as a “hybrid multi-functional mega structure. Not by building up, but by digging down, it reveals the bedrock (mountain) that was hidden under Central Park, and creates space along the new cliff. The ambition is to reverse the traditional relationship between landscape and architecture, in a way that every occupiable space has direct connection to the nature.”
The excavated park would be surrounded by 1,000-foot tall reflective glass walls, essentially turning Central Park into the world’s largest sunken living room. The designers claim that the excavation would provide “a total floor area of 7 square miles, which is about 80 times greater than the Empire State Building. Wrapping all four sides of the new Central Park. This system breaks the traditional perception of large-scale skyscrapers without taking valuable ground area of Manhattan.”
Check out this video from GeoBeats News which highlights the stunning visuals created by the design team.