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Architect Proposes Greening the West Side Highway with the "Vine Line"

Architect Proposes Greening the West Side Highway with the "Vine Line"

Stuck with the post-Sandy realization that buried waterfront highways are unlikely to be buried for fear of flooding, designers are looking to spruce them up, instead. The emerging “funderpass” movement hit Brooklyn last week, and now Manhattan’s Upper West Side has its own proposal, the leafy “Vine Line.”

Architect Laurence Tamaccio has proposed hiding, or rather masking, an elevated section of the West Side Highway between 61st and 72nd streets with a green scheme of vines and waterfalls. Plans had been on the table to bury the highway once and for all after a collapse in the 1970s and the contentious process of rebuilding it, but after Hurricane Sandy, that option seems in doubt. So far, Tamaccio’s plan, which also offers a grey water filtering system and a café, has been greeted with support from the community board and many local residents.

While the proposed waterfalls add a level of complexity to the proposal, the heart of the Vine Line is rather simple structurally. A series of lightweight wire rods and cables would be attached to the highway’s existing structure, forming an arched armature on which vines will grow. According to the Vine Line:

This arbor treatment will create a grand promenade of living green columns and arches that will link the midtown piers at West 59th Street, the south entrance to Riverside Park South with historic Riverside Park at West 72nd Street, the north section of Riverside Park South.

To bring the “Vine Line” to completion Tamaccio has drafted a petition for local neighbors, himself included, and launched a Facebook page. The next steps will be creating a non-profit for the project and spreading the word throughout the community.

[Via NY Press.]

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