Contributing writer, Jade Chen (Columbia University, Class of ’22), looks beyond the hype to discover why Hudson Yards is avant-garde city planning.
When you first enter Hudson Yards, you don’t just see the difference, you feel the difference. You look through the glass windows of the modern office buildings and see hundreds of people streaming in and out from work. Families are ambling through the trees in the public square and gardens towards The Vessel, which is dotted with excited climbers. There’s an energetic and professional energy, while at the same time, it’s relaxing and fun.
Photo: Daisy Korpics for Fast Company
Hudson Yards is more than just a collection of tall towers and public spaces in New York – it’s an unprecedented integration of buildings, parks, streets, and utilities designed to create a responsive and connected city. As the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States, Hudson Yards is giving Midtown West a new identity – the impressive steel and glass high-rise buildings, paired with the interactive sculptures and art pieces, are already major attractions to locals and tourists alike.
Next month performances will begin at the Shed, an open-ended arts center designed to be highly adaptable to the tight urban site. The Shed marks a new design formula for cultural centers in which visitors can enjoy a full variety of arts and entertainment. The design is agile to change, including physical change; its retractable shell can transform into an accessible, open-air outdoor space. Theater, dance, opera, art exhibitions, festivals, and outdoor movies can all be held in The Shed, reducing the need for specialized cultural structures and increasing space efficiency.
Photo: Daisy Korpics for Fast Company
Nearly two decades of planning and $25 billion went into the development of Hudson Yards. Beneath the luxurious art, malls, and offices of its ten block city lies an intricate and purposeful design that addresses the limited spacing issues of New York. 300 caissons are drilled deep into bedrock to support the 35,000-ton platform, providing a foundation for the Hudson Yard buildings while allowing the 30 active Long Island Railroad trains to function below. Hudson Yards advances urban development by demonstrating how to turn landlocked areas into fully functional ones, thereby spearheading the future of city planning. Cities are progressively moving towards creating greener societies. Hudson Yards is at the forefront of this movement, utilizing an organic waste disposable system and stormwater tanks to reduce waste and conserve potable water.
Hudson Yards is a mixed-use development, home to multiple office and residential buildings, it’s planned as a completely self-functional and car-free space in Midtown West. 30 Hudson Yards, the second tallest skyscraper in the city, is already attracting companies like Amazon, HBO, JPMorgan, and BlackRock and cutting edge shared office space. Topping off 30 Hudson Yards is The Edge, the tallest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere. Directly across is the Shops & Restaurants, which hold over 100 brands of both fast-fashion and luxury shops. Dozens of brands are opening their first permanent stores in Hudson Yards, adding fresh appeal to the collection of popular brands. The most notable grand opening is the first-ever Equinox Hotel.
Observation Deck on 30 Hudson, Courtesy of Related Oxford
Hudson Yards is a city within a city – it is incentivizing the building of other large-scale projects to adapt to the limited space and design concerns of an urban city. This unparalleled ambition, combined with the flexibility of arts and entertainment, could possibly be the future of new developments in landlocked New York City.
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