Designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects (NBW), the Public Square and Gardens at Hudson Yards brings vibrancy to the heart of the largest private development in American history.
Area: 182109.0 m2
Photographs: Barrett Doherty
A stunning technological achievement that supports a healthy ecosystem on the roof of a working train yard, the recently inaugurated Square hosts world-class events and art exhibitions, while providing an outdoor gathering place for the transformed neighborhood and its expected 24 million annual visitors. NBW’s design creates a common ground for a new assembly of cutting-edge architecture, which includes innovative projects from Diller Scofidio and Renfro, Heatherwick Studio, Skidmore Owings and Merrill, and Kohn Pedersen Fox.
The Public Square and Gardens speaks to the urban condition; it is a place for the individual, an informal gathering, events, exhibitions and more. A series of elliptical forms gives shape to the primary landscape spaces: Gardens, Bosque, and Plaza. Articulated as curving walls and contrasting hues in the pavement these elliptical forms converge at the base of Vessel, a monumental artwork and focal point. 1,300 linear feet of seating in the form of benches and low walls reinforce the Plaza geometries, innately encourage visitors to use the space as a site of reflection and repose.
The Bosque provides a horticultural ceiling of enfolding canopy and foliage. Coupled with crushed stone surfaces, the tree canopy mediates the height of the adjacent skyscrapers, creating naturally intimate places at a human scale. The Gardens immerse visitors into horticulture inspired by Hudson Valley woodlands, responding to the carefully considering lighting conditions and incorporating diverse and resilient native species in an authentic expression of place.
The Hudson Yards landscape responds to the confluence of three significant landscapes on the west side of Manhattan: the High Line, Hudson Park and Boulevard, and Hudson River Park. The meandering nature of the High Line and similarly linear quality of Hudson River Park are artfully captured to effortlessly flow into the spacious gathering place of the Public Square and Gardens. The design reconsiders vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian circulation, with an emphasis on the pedestrian experience and accessibility as paramount. Today the Public Square and Gardens at Hudson Yards is the living room for the west side, where urban life colorfully plays out.