Futuristic Central Park Design Proposes a 'Sidescraper'

Design calls for excavating the park
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2016 12:55 PM CDT
Futuristic Central Park Design Proposes a 'Sidescraper'
A rendering of New York Horizon.   (Yitan Sun and Jianshi Wu)

A headline at CityLab calls it the "worst idea in history," but a design that includes digging up Manhattan's Central Park 1,000 feet to the bedrock and then erecting a reflective glass building around it has won this year's eVolo Skyscraper Competition. The project called New York Horizon, designed by Yitan Sun and Jianshi Wu, would transform the park into a sunken landscape filled with mountains and lakes, WebUrbanist reports. The mixed-use "horizontal skyscraper," or "sidescraper," would rise to street level, comprise 7 square miles of floor area, and include housing units and public spaces. "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," say the designers. Kriston Capps of City Lab, on the other hand, says the idea is "impossible" and "immoral … if it were a serious proposal."

Other reactions aren't so harsh, but they are equally dubious. Gothamist calls it "pure fantasy, and more an experiment in design than anything else." The Real Deal calls New York Horizon a "cool idea," but adds, "This isn’t happening ever, under any circumstances." WebUrbanist says it's "an intriguing idea for future underground urban design," while dismissing that the idea will ever come to fruition in Manhattan. The designers, who moved to New York last year, say their plan would make the park more accessible by creating more residences in close proximity. WebUrbanist, however, notes that those residences would likely be pricey and says the park is already accessible. "A lot of people misunderstood our project as a monstrous wall," Wu tells Gothamist. "What we want to build is connection, not separation." (This LA skyscraper will feature an exterior glass slide 1,000 feet up.)

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