Rendering depicting the "Imaging the Lowline" exhibition; credit: Lowline
One year since the "Lowline" project was first announced, the scheme is moving one step closer to reality. Or rather, a reality. Dan Barasch and James Ramsey, the founders behind what could be the world's first underground park, have developed their initial idea sufficiently to produce a working prototype of the solar collectors that would illuminate the subterranean park. They will premiere the system--which uses fiber-optic power to filter and distribute light from above down to the underground space--at the "Imagining the Lowline" exhibition that opens September 15.
Photos: Lizzy Zevallos/Lowline via Facebook
In order to present the technology in some kind of context, the installation will create the park in miniature (see rendering above), in which an islet of grass carpet and accompanying shrubbery will be strewn in the middle of the "gallery" space--actually, an abandoned Lower East Side warehouse. A pair of the "remote skylights" tethered to the ceiling will draw light from outside and channel it to floor level and onto the patch of lawn.
The Lowline immediately created a city-wide stir after the first batch of renderings hit the press. Those images, which envisioned families, geriatrics, and models all frolicking in a sun-tinged, photosynthesized environment, in combination with the overt (yet then unofficial) association with the High Line helped propel the project to stardom. When Barasch and Ramsey launched a Kickstarter campaign in February to raise funds to build the prototype lights, donations poured in from everywhere, capping at upwards $125,000 (the original goal had been $100,000). Audi would later sign on as sponsor, as would Columbia GSAPP, which charged a studio--taught by architect Juergen Mayer and Architizer CEO Marc Kushner--with designing for the same underground trolley terminus.
The architects were additionally bolstered by the overwhelming community support of the project, which would realize public green space in a neighborhood with very little. “By bringing together core members of the Lower East Side community throughout this exhibit," says Barasch, "We will show that the Lowline is not only possible, but will besustainable as a viable community organization over the longer term."
50-foot model of Manhattan's transportation network; Model by Experiments in Motion
A companion exhibition, "Experiments in Motion", will open in the same space. The show, which grew out of an Audi-sponsored studio program at GSAPP, will feature a 50-foot long model of Manhattan, suspended above visitors. Swatches of white acrylic bars representing the island's subway routes dangle from the model's steel frame, while projections cast onto the walls and floor will flesh out the display.
"Imagining the Lowline" is free and will open to the public on September 15th through September 27th. RSVP here