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Brief Published: 21 Sep 2012

New York’s Solar-Powered Underground Park


US architects Dan Barasch and James Ramsey have secured funding to design an underground park in New York that channels solar energy underground. They aim to have the park completed and open to the public by 2017.

The proposed park, called The Lowline (in reference to the regenerative High Line public park project, also in NYC) will be located under the streets of eastern Manhattan in a 60,000 sq ft abandoned trolley terminal, which hasn’t been used since 1948. The aim is to transform it into a public park within a unique setting. 

Using fibre optic cables to transfer solar energy to the park below, the design incorporates a remote skylight system that will concentrate solar energy and channel it underground. The energy will be redistributed to make photosynthesis possible for plant life to grow. This new technology will also provide natural illumination to highlight the industrial architectural settings of this unusual space. Steel columns, old cobblestones and criss-crossing railway tracks will be left on display for the public to discover.

The project reflects a new wave of design that is looking at ever-more innovative ways of introducing green spaces into urban areas, and going underground to evade the urban crush above.

For more information on downward-facing architecture, see our report Subterranean Spaces. For more insight into urban regeneration in public areas, see High Line 2: New York, New City? and The Playful City.

The Lowline

Raad Studio

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