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The Influentials: Architecture & Design

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The Annotated High Line


All roads in New York architecture lead to the High Line, the greenest, hippest, most-watched urban transformation in the city—one and a half elevated miles of concrete planks, mini-meadows, and sundecks. The park won’t open until summer 2008, but it has already had a stunning impact on the adjacent blocks, where a forest of 27 new residential towers, hotels, offices, and museums, is rising.


Joshua David and Robert Hammond
Co-founders, Friends of the High Line
Through determination, networking, and good design, they turned a crazy idea into something a podium full of politicians wants to take credit for. Now they’ve become pinups for grassroots dreamers—a new Globe Theatre on Governors Island? A greenway around the Bronx? Maybe, with a little help from powerful friends.


James Corner
Principal, Field Operations
With his designs for the High Line and, even more important, Fresh Kills, Corner is turning pieces of the man-made world back into open meadows, forest glens, and wetland habitats. His work is rough, apparently natural, and ecologically sound, something like Frederick Law Olmsted’s but unmowed and unfenced. It’s what parks are going to look like for the next 25 years.


Elizabeth Diller, Ric Scofidio, Charles Renfro
Principals, Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Long known for their high-concept installations and theoretical work, this local firm beat out international heavy hitters to win the High Line project by introducing a radically new language for New York’s streetscapes: curves and dips that create mystery and drama rather than prettiness and nostalgia.


Amanda Burden
Chair, City Planning Commission
Many city officials had a hand in the High Line. But it was Burden who realized the park’s transformative potential not just for the tracks but for the neighborhoods they link: the meatpacking district, Chelsea, and Hudson Yards. She championed a creative rezoning of the area, which insists that new buildings defer to the park’s primacy and ensures development of affordable housing.

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