Leonel Ponce

High Line Structural Engineering: Elevating the Design of New York’s Preserved Rail

by , 06/27/11

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A wading pool near 15th Street sits atop a tank storing 2,900 gallons of water, which is supported by secondary steel framing. Irrigation and drainage systems are integrated with the framing, and drain excess water into the landscape to prevent leaks to the street below.

In Section 2, the engineering team pulls more tricks out of its sleeves, as the complexity of the Flyover and Cutout and their seamless interaction with the original structure present new challenges. The Falcone Woodland Flyover consists of a post and beam system bearing onto the existing structure, a sophisticated system of slender columns attaching the walkway to the top of the existing railway. This delicate structure contrasts the robust High Line steel, providing an elevated walkway with a thin profile. Special consideration is paid to expansion joints, as well as impact loads on handrails from service vehicles; parents can rest assured that children cannot tip the rails over and fall into the Falcone Woodlands.

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The 30th Street Cutout poses the challenge of making a floating platform over the girders, while allowing a view through this same structure. Buro Happold connects this angled grated platform to the existing High Line with minimal cantilevered connections, impeding downward visibility as little as possible. Adjacent stairs and elevator pose yet another challenge; in order to fit landings and steps as the existing tracks turn toward the Hudson, the outermost girder and parapet is cut and reinforced at the edges of the new opening. Supporting beams and stringers for the stairs and elevator are then connected by bolts to the remaining structure, each run of stairs fastened to a beam running perpendicular to it.

The resulting framing, as in the rest of the High Line, is structurally and visually integral with the original elevated tracks, forming a contemporary park that preserves and elevates the historic railway to the forefront of 21st century green design.

+The High Line
+Buro Happold
+Robert Silman Associates

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