Aleksandar Dekic: Hudson Yard, new life into an urban architectural design
Hudson Yards is one of Manhattan’s newest and biggest communities. It represents the city developer’s prioritization for maximum efficiency and profit before the design. Creator of the article in the New York Times, Michael Kimmelman, gave his opinion about this location in the city. It looks like the architects and developers of Hudson Yards try to create a city within the city like the Rockefeller center was created. We can compare it to some other projects, like Battery Park City, which can give us an opinion about what Hudson Yards represents the city of New York and what its residents deserve. Hudson Yards deserves to be compared to the other parts of the city and to be critiqued and praised at the same time.
Architecturally, many details deserve big applaud, like the curved steel window frames at 55 and the V-shaped limestone segment where the Shed intersects the tower. Michel Kimmelman point out in his article things like: “how the angled limestone slabs decorating 35 make the facade seem to shift between stone and glass as one passes the building; how the podiums of 55 and 35 play off each other, and how the chamfered base of 10 cedes the stage to a spur of the High Line, making the skyscraper suddenly appear to step back on tiptoe”.
But Hudson Yards is created to show its architecture as luxury branding. Each building exists to be a logo for itself. That is not a case with Battery Park City where we can see buildings, streets and open spaces which are integrated with its waterfront environment. Hudson Yards is created to be a high-end residential district with a focus on branding, in a way that the whole area represents the modern shopping mall. Battery park was created with landscape architecture where we have use of open areas to be tampon zones between buildings and streets which gave us filling of oasis and gateway of over urbanized city. It shows us the very soul of the city and the uniqueness of its residents. Hudson Yards is more like Lincoln center where we have a presentation of a row and cold materials (glass façade compared with concrete ones at Lincoln center). Also, Hudson Yards has a small amount of its surface area opened for public use, and that area gravitates toward shopping mall and it serves the mall purpose. In Battery Park City, the focus is on park and nature and it’s coexistent with the city and architecture, as a most sustainable model in architecture, while in Hudson yards we can see lack of human scale appearance and the focus on the shining glass buildings and monotony of the polished brass, marble, and stone. Even though Hudson Yards creators try to mimic Rockefeller center, they failed. Rockefeller center is made to show a site with multiple entrances, the dignity of the place and architecture with an urban design that shows the harmony between the streets and buildings. All these things are not presented at the Hudson Yards.
Throughout the semester, we have seen several areas that represent New York City. Some of them were bad, some of them good and some of them breathtaking. In a world that is trying to copy one thing, and to repeat that action again and again all over the world, brings us to the point that every place is becoming the same. Cities are destroying old buildings just because they are old, but they don’t understand that they are losing that uniqueness which sets them apart from others. They are destroying the very last thing that can keep people in this city, bring more tourists and create bigger revenues.