“Designing the High Line.” Revisiting a funky idea called Agri-tecture.

The planks have been installed, the soil has started to arrive on site and the plants and trees are on their way. But what you might not realize is how all of this has come about. Welcome to the first installation in a series of blog posts looking specifically at the design of the High Line. Each week until the opening of Section 1 later this year, we will highlight final designs for Sections 1 and 2 of the High Line. Along with diagrams and design renderings, construction drawings and images will give you behind the scenes look at what promises to be an amazing park.

Since the release of the competition finalists in July 2004 and the selection of Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro later that summer, everyone near and far has always been intrigued with the design. With its thought-provoking ideas and a funky idea called Agri-tecture, New Yorkers embraced it and called it our own. Let’s revisit the winning competition entry that is now becoming a reality thanks to supporters and advocates like you.


[Biotopes: System of paving and planting that provides a gradient of changing landscape/hardscape conditions. Click to enlarge.]

Statement by the design team describing AGRI-TECTURE:

BY changing the rules of engagement between plant life and pedestrians, our strategy of AGRI-TECTURE combines organic and building materials into gradients of changing proportions that accommodate a variety of natural and programmatic conditions. Part agriculture / part architecture the system digitizes the High Line surface into discrete units of paving and planting that could be organized in any combination from 100% hard paving to 100% soft richly vegetated biotopes, or any gradation in between. The surface is built from individual pre-cast concrete planks with open joints to encourage emergent growth like wild grass through cracks in the sidewalk. The long, gradually tapering units are designed to comb into planting beds creating a “pathless” landscape’ where the public can meander in unscripted ways.


[Competition rendering of typical landscape and planking system.]

[Diagram illustrating diversity and evolution in plant and bird life over time. Click to enlarge.]

Click here to view the original competition entry: 2004 Design Team Selection


2 Responses

  1. Great Blog. I am an Landscape Architect coming to NY on Sept 14th for two weeks to look at great public projects and would love a tour of the Highline with someone who can tell me all the ins and outs. Any chance someone could put me in touch with a person who may be available to do this?
    Thank you
    Kind regards

  2. […] August 12th, 2008: Revisiting a funky idea called Agri-tecture. […]

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