Winner of 2016 eVolo Skyscraper Prize is truly groundbreaking

Quick, call up the Cultural Landscape Foundation and all those others who worked so hard to save the little Russell Page Garden at the Frick Gallery. Because just across Fifth Avenue, Yitan Sun and Jianshi Wu want to dig up the old and tatty Central Park and replace it very big hole containing something new and much more exciting. They won first prize in the 2016 eVolo Skyscraper competition, even though they are building a groundscraper instead.

closup in park© Yitan Sun, Jianshi Wu

The tired 150 year old design by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux doesn’t have a chance of survival in this era where historic preservation of building or landscape is thought to be a NIMBY impediment to development and high density. It’s the Triumph of the City as a solid 100 foot wall of hybrid multi-functional mega structure is built around it, 80 times the area of the Empire State Building, with almost twenty million square feet of apartments, all with priceless CTRL PK VW.

The designers describe what they are doing with the dirt:

The soil removed from the original park is relocated to various neighborhoods, which will be demolished and moved into the new structure. This creates a new urban condition, where landscape can serve as an inherent part of the city.

upper east side© Yitan Sun, Jianshi Wu/ New mountain in the Upper east Side

That's perhaps a mistake, knocking down a big chunk of the upper east side to make a new park; If Ryan Avent and David Owen are right about what happens when you add this much supply, this will totally solve New York's housing problems. It would be much better if they used the dirt to fill the East River, as was proposed earlier. Think of what that would do the the price of housing, all that new land.

Evolo detail© Yitan Sun, Jianshi Wu

Instead of Olmsted’s phoney constructed fantasy, described by TCLF as a “romantic park…with pastoral meadows knit to rustic Picturesque woodlands,” Sun and Wu propose to reveal the rugged natural terrain of the bedrock below, including the mountain they say is buried under the park. The real thing. And It will feel so much bigger than the current park, where all you can see are old stone piles and new Pikettyscrapers, because it's all done with mirrors!

Section through park© Yitan Sun, Jianshi Wu

With its highly reflective glass cover on all sides, the landscape inside the new park can reach beyond physical boundaries, creating an illusion of infinity. In the heart of New York City, a New Horizon is born.

Dig we must! See larger images at Evolo.

Tags: Design Competitions | New York City

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