Most New Yorkers agree that something has to be done about Penn Station - the cramped and claustrophobic mass transit center is woefully inadequate and not at all ready to launch New York City into the next age of sustainable high-speed rail. Luckily, four architecture firms are already thinking about how to transform the station into the transit center/cultural hub/business district/residential area of the future. Last month, the Municipal Art Society of New York held an event to showcase the forward-thinking ideas of SHoP Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture and Skidmore Owings & Merrill. Read on to see how these firms re-imagined Penn Station and Madison Square Garden.
Nearly 640,000 people use Penn Station every day, making it the busiest train station in the United States. Unfortunately, it’s nowhere close to being ready to handle high speed trains and the expected influx of new commuters, residents and tourists the city can expect to see in the coming years. It’s also dark, cramped, confusing and topped off with Madison Square Garden – an arena that holds concerts, events and games on a regular basis. But the question remains how best to update the transit hub to handle the new traffic, while also operating and providing ongoing services to the city. The Municipal Art Society of New York asked four firms to give it their best shot and envision the Penn Station of the future.
Gotham Gateway by SHoP Architect
SHoP Architects recently completed the Barclays Center – a combo basketball statdium, shopping center and transit hub, so they are definitely familiar with the intricacies of mixed-use centers in an urban environment. They suggest moving Madison Square Garden a few blocks to the west and allowing Penn Station to occupy its own site. The station itself would be bright, airy and easily navigable and at the center of a new district – the Gotham Gateway. Besides the new infrastructure needed for high speed transit and improved local transit, the concept also suggests the addition of new public park space and new private development to add more amenities to the area.
Penn Station 3.0 by Diller Scofidio + Renfro
DSR’s vision is Penn Station 3.0, the third version of the train station that centers around innovation and growth. After moving MSG to the west end of the Farley building, the new station would become a 24/7 hub for activity. Organized vertically, the station would be drenched with natural light and would be welcoming. Slower activities like, galleries, shops, high-end restaurants, spas, and parks would occupy the upper floors, while necessities and transit would be on the lower floors and easier to access in a rush. Public space would be incorporated throughout to create a new hub for Midtown.
New Vision by SOM
SOM shared their vision for the New Penn Station with us last week and we were blown away by the amazing concept that created more park space than we could have imagined. An elevated plinth sits above the glass-domed train station and even more green space. The futuristic concept is supported by four towers on each corner that hold offices, residences, shops and cultural destinations. MSG is moved next door to the west and the new transit center would also provide direct ticketing and access to the NY-area airports.
New Midtown by H3 Hardy Collaborative
H3 Hardy Collaborative came up with a vision for a New Midtown area that proposes moving MSG entirely offsite to a waterfront location by the Javits Center to allow for its own identity and tourist functions. The new Penn Station would also be airy and bright and include an 8-track high speed rail, a 3-acre park, retail space and a rooftop garden. The Farley Building would become a Center for Eduction and new buildings would offer hybrid development to increase the economy of the commercial district.
Read more about all four plans at the Municipal Art Society of New York
Images ©SHoP Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, SOM, H3 Hardy Collaborative