Raad Studio-designed Lowline project to create ‘world’s first underground park’ in New York

by Jak Phillips | 30 Jun 2015

The team behind an ambitious New York design project to create the ‘world's first underground park’ have turned to Kickstarter to raise US$200,000 (€179,000, £127,000) for technical development for the complex scheme.

The US$60m (€53.8m, £38.2m) Lowline project, designed by James Ramsey of Raad Studio, would see the transformation of an abandoned, underground trolley terminal in Manhattan's Lower East Side. It would harness solar power to become a fully-lit public park with trees, planting, seating and artwork.

The technically challenging concept would act as a counterpoint to New York's High Line scheme, which has seen an elevated urban park created on a disused railway line. High Line's third and final phase was completed in September and was a collaboration between landscape firm James Corner Field Operations, architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Dutch planting designer Piet Oudolf.

Money generated for Lowline through the Kickstarter crowd funding platform would be used to fund a science laboratory, open to the public from the autumn, that would explore and develop the use of solar energy in the subterranean park.

It is being spearheaded by the Lowline organisation, a not-for-profit organisation led by Ramsey and former radio producer Daniel Barasch. It has also won support from a number of designers, as well as Girls star Lena Dunham and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark.

Daniel Barasch gave a TED Talk outlining plans for the Lowline

The project would see light reflectors placed on surrounding buildings and rooftops to channel sunlight into the park. They would direct the sun's rays to an above-ground solar collector, which would then funnel the light downward through fibre-optic cables. The cables would be linked to dome-shape panels that would beam the natural light throughout the park.

The Lowline team says the technology would support photosynthesis, enabling plants and trees to grow. Artificial light would illuminate the park when sunlight is not available.

The Kickstarter campaign had already raised US$113,926 (€102,000, £72,500) as of June 30 and is due to run until July 8.

By the end of 2017, the Lowline group hopes to complete negotiations and launch a capital campaign to support construction of the park, with a target opening date of 2018.

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FEATURE: Features – The High Line

The team behind an ambitious New York design project to create the ‘world's first underground park’ have turned to Kickstarter to raise US$200,000 (€179,000, £127,000) for technical development for the complex scheme. The US$60m (€53.8m, £38.2m) Lowline project, designed by James Ramsey of Raad Studio, would see the transformation of an abandoned, underground trolley terminal in Manhattan's Lower East Side. It would harness solar power to become a fully-lit public
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The project would see light reflectors placed on surrounding buildings and rooftops to channel sunlight into the park / Raad Studio
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