National Geographic : 2011 Apr
landscape architect James Corner of Field Opera- tions and the architecture rm of Diller Sco dio + Renfro, who joined forces to produce the winning scheme in a competition that pitted them against such notables as Zaha Hadid, Steven Holl, and landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh. eir plan struck a balance between re ne- ment and the rough-hewn, industrial quality of the High Line. "We envisioned it as one long, meandering ribbon but with special episodes," Corner told me. "We wanted to keep the feel- ing of the High Line consistent but at the same time have some variations." e design included sleek wooden benches that appear to peel up from the park surface, but also kept many of the original train tracks, setting them into portions of the pavement and landscape. Working with Dutch landscape architect Piet Oudolf, Corner recommended a wide range of plantings, with heavy leanings toward tall grasses and reeds that recalled the wild owers and weeds that had sprung up during the High Line's long abandon- ment. ( e line, which opened in 1934, was little used a er the 1960s, although its nal train, car- rying frozen turkeys, didn't travel down the track until 1980.) The High Line once stretched farther into lower Manhattan, often passing right through factories. That southernmost section was torn down in the 1960s, long before any thought of turning the line into a park.