NYC is one step closer to having its first underground park thanks to the opening of the Lowline Lab on the Lower East Side. The lush, planted environment is a harbinger of the proposed Lowline park, and will act as a long-term open laboratory and technical exhibition that tests and showcases how a subterranean vegetative landscape could be maintained. Read on to see how you can visit this wondrous environment yourself, and click through our gallery for our firsthand photos of the “magic and science” we saw inside.
The Lowline Lab officially opened to the public this past Saturday inside an abandoned market on the Lower East Side, but will continue to grow and progress as the designers advance their solar canopy technology. There are a series of water-resistant mirrors that capture natural sunlight from the warehouse roof. Architectural designer Sang-yun Han from RAAD Studios explained to us how the systems “can collect a full spectrum of light on sunny days.” The system channels the light like a liquid, with a series of protective tubes, to a central distribution point. Finally, the futuristic solar canopy filled with laser cut hexagonal panels, disperses the ethereal light throughout the open space, to support photosynthesis and sustain plant life below.
The garden itself, designed by Signe Nielsen of Mathews Nielsen and installed by John Mini Distinctive Landscapes, is a 1,000 square-foot oasis, with over 3,000 plants. Mark Mini, Vice President of Operations of John Mini Distinctive Landscapes, says that the lab is an “opportunity to study and determine which types of plants will grow best” under the solar canopy, for the future park.
Lowline co-founder Dan Barasch told us, “right now, [the lab] tells the story about light and growing plants underground.” As they progress this study, their “next phase will include explorations of water collection, air temperature regulations, and other design solutions.” In addition to being a testing zone, the lab will be devoted to demonstrating innovative science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) ideas to the community.
The Lowline Lab will be open and free to the public every Saturday and Sunday through March 2016. If you’re in the area, make sure you check out the magic and science behind the world’s first underground park!
Photos ©Yukari Yamahiro for Inhabitat. Check out more pics of the Lowline Lab on our Flickr Stream.