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SOM Redesigns NYC’s Penn Station to Include Light-Filled Moynihan Station

Posted By Jessica Dailey On March 5, 2011 @ 11:27 am In Architecture,Manhattan,News | 3 Comments

Penn Station wasn’t always a basement-like nightmare. Just 50 years ago, it was a magnificent train station [7] that rivaled the beauty of Grand Central. But then along came the Robert Moses era, and the station was demolished to make way for Madison Square Garden. Talk of improving Penn Station — which houses lines for Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, Long Island Railroad, and New York City MTA — has been going on pretty much since the current building went up, and for the last ten years, New Yorkers have known pretty much what the “new Penn Station [8]” will look like and where it will be.

In 2001, Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill [9] was picked to design Moynihan Station, which is the brainchild of the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who championed the project when he was still alive. A variety of reasons lead to the project design briefly changing hands, but in 2007, SOM was again officially awarded [6] the project (you can find a detailed timeline of Moynihan Station’s planning history here [10]), and their plans have more or less stayed the same.

SOM will maintain the facade of the Farley Post Office, which sits behind Penn Station on Eighth Avenue between 33rd and 31st Streets. The interior will be restored to house new train and intermodal halls, and a sweeping glass ceiling will create a light-filled central hall. Phase One, which began in October, consists of building major transportation [11] infrastructure the station will need. This includes extending the west end concourse below the post office building to allow for access to more tracks, improving ventilation, improving and updating signal work, upgrading the connector between the post office and the current Penn Station, and creating two new entry points on either side of the post office’s facade. SOM says that these changes “increase capacity for rail services, enhance subway connections, reduce congestion, and improve access for all riders, including those with disabilities.” The Friends of Moynihan Station [12] say that Phase One should be complete by 2015, and at that point, Amtrak would move all Penn Station operations to the new location.

Then Phase Two can begin, which is when the beautiful grand hall will be created and shops and restaurants could move in. Thanks to the stimulus funds, city and state funds, and private investors, the $267 million required for phase one is available, but funding for phase two — expected to cost around $1 billion — is nowhere to be found at the moment. But many believe that the momentum of phase one will undoubtedly lead to the completion of phase two.

The design of Moynihan Station doesn’t really have any green features, per se, but energy [13] efficiency will be a top priority in the renovation, and any improvement to public transportation [11] is good for the environment. Plus, a renovation is much greener than demolishing the existing Penn Station and creating an entirely new structure, which was proposed back in 2006.

+ Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill [6]


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[4]  : http://inhabitat.com/nyc/som-designed-moynihan-station-redevelopment-will-decongest-penn-station/original-penn-station/?extend=1

[5] Moynihan Station: http://www.moynihanstation.org/newsite/2010/02/big_news_moynihan_station_rece.html

[6] designed by SOM: http://www.som.com/content.cfm/moynihan_station_redevelopment_2007_design

[7] train station: http://inhabitat.com/index.php?s=%22train+station%22

[8] new Penn Station: http://newpennstation.org/site/

[9] Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill: http://www.som.com/content.cfm/moynihan_station_redevelopment_2001_design

[10] here: http://www.moynihanstation.org/newsite/2005/08/project_timeline.html

[11] transportation: http://inhabitat.com/transportation/

[12] Friends of Moynihan Station: http://www.moynihanstation.org/newsite/

[13] energy: http://inhabitat.com/energy/

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