Syracuse University graduate Jeff Kamuda's "Excavating Wilderness" design concept explores the tension that exists between the built environment and wilderness through a wild subterranean space beneath Central Park. The mile-long space extends from the Grand Army Plaza at 59th Street to the American Museum of Natural History at 77th Street and features three main parts that rely on the sun and underground exposed rock to illuminate key moments in New York City's history.
It isn’t easy to understand Kamuda’s project until you take a closer look at some of his renders. In a way, the excavation project is an inverted mirror of the iconic Manhattan skyline, but it’s also deeply rooted to nature (pun intended). “The Portal” is an astronomical device and historical archive above which a “truncated sphere” creates a metaphysical link between the observer and Polaris. The Canyon, which is underneath the middle of the park, allows people to explore the island’s geologic makeup along with added waterfalls, “melding built environment with that of nature,” according to Kamuda.
The genealogical archive of the city is inscribed on a series of translucent panels. “This is actually an archive of the memories of those who visit the site,” Kamuda tells us, “[it’s] a type of modern day Ellis Island, thereby allowing the architecture to materialize from the memories of those who visit this place. The historical archive is within the portal, and the city’s history is inscribed in the rock walls that surround the astronomical device.”
Finally, five pairs of twin towers on the site’s northern edge cast site lines that align themselves with the city grid – marking the cosmic event of Manhattanhenge four times annually. We’re not sure something of this scale could ever be realized, but it is definitely an interesting concept that asks us to reconsider our relationship to nature — and Central Park!
Via Arch Daily
All images © Jeff Kamuda