How Does a Tower Meet the Street?

Public Realm Consulting for Commercial High-Rise Development: 
Ground Floor + Street Design
Hudson Yards, New York City

with COOKFOX, Lendlease

In a neighborhood of shiny high rise towers and empty open plazas, what is the architectural response that could enable a more human scale and community engaged experience? WIP Collaborative was asked to collaborate with Lendlease and CookFox Architects on their proposal for a mixed use development at 418 11th Ave in Hudson Yards. As design consultants focused on the public realm, WIP contributed a ground floor and adjacent street design to create a continuous interior/exterior environment serving a broader population than the building tenants and contributing a more vibrant public realm at the street level.

Who is this for?
A well-known critique of Hudson Yards development is that while it claims to be openly accessible to the public, it is designed to be an urban enclave for the wealthy. Dominated by commercial offices, luxury residences, and high-end restaurant and retail offerings, it is “mixed use” but serves a very narrow slice of the population and contributes little to a vibrant and diverse public realm.

Analysis of the local demographic data reveals the disparity in income, household, age, and race between Hudson Yards and surrounding areas. Furthermore, Hudson Yards lacks the diversity of the general NYC population that is essential for a vibrant and equitable public realm. Knowing this, we aimed to create a continuous public environment at the ground level that would feel comfortable and welcoming for all from exterior to interior, with natural and human scale environments that are inviting and accommodating without requiring a visitor to spend money or be put on display.

WIP Collaborative Team:
Lindsay Harkema
Elsa Ponce
Sonya Gimon
Abby Coover
Sera Ghadaki

© WIP Architecture DPC