There are mountains to be found in New York City, if you know where to look. Designers Yitan Sun and Jianshu Wu have proposed a way to uncover these hidden landforms in New York Horizon, an idea that excavates 1,000 feet down into Central Park and surrounds the four sides of the park with a subterranean, habitable mega-structure. The extraordinary but entirely unrealistic proposal was just crowned winner of eVolo’s 2016 Skyscraper Competition, an annual contest known for its futuristic and fanciful designs.
Sun and Wu’s motivation behind New York Horizon was to “make Central Park available to more people…to reverse the traditional relationship between landscape and architecture, in a way that every occupiable space has direct connection to nature.” They claim that excavation would allow for the construction of a 1,000-foot-tall megastructure that wraps around the perimeter of the 1.3-square-mile park for a total floor area of 7 square miles. Highly reflective glass walls would offer the illusion of infinity and provide all tenants of the building views of the park.
Despite the noble intentions to bring city dwellers closer to nature, the New York Horizon proposal is downright silly and an abomination to landscape architecture and history. By excavating the 159-year-old park, the designers are advocating the destruction of the work of Frederick Law Olmsted, the Central Park landscape architect who helped pioneer urban park design to bring people closer to nature. Furthermore, the proposal ironically compromises access and views to the public green space by surrounding it with soaring glass walls—no explanation is given to how non-tenants of the mega-structure would actually access the park.
Images via eVolo