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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Architects envisage future of New York station

A transparent domed ticket office is at the centre of one of a new series of futuristic visions for New York’s Penn Station.

Designs by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), who have also produced blueprints for the redevelopment around Grand Central Terminal, show a huge funnel-shaped development above a new expanded Penn Station.

Concepts for a transformed station and Madison Square Garden, which currently sits on top of the rail interchange, have been submitted by SOM and three other design groups in response to a competition launched by the Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS).

With Madison Square Garden’s 50-year permit to operate the arena now expired, New York’s urban planners are looking to take the opportunity to highlight the much-needed expansion of Pennsylvania Station.

A shorter term 15-year permit has been awarded to Madison Square Garden (MSG), which suggests plans for an eventual redesign of the site, but there are concerns that MSG could be granted a “permit in perpetuity” effectively putting paid to any hopes of a new transport hub for the city.

Photo: SOM.
Photo: SOM.

SOM’s design suggests enlarging Penn Station’s footprint by an additional two blocks to allow for the future introduction of high-speed services along the Northeast corridor and direct rail links to JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Airports.

Roger Duffy, design partner behind SOM’s entry, said: “Nearly 640,000 passengers use Penn Station every day, and yet it does not act as a dignified gateway to one of the world’s greatest cities.

“What we propose creates a civic heart for Midtown West – one that is truly public and open to all – while allowing New York City to maintain its position as a global center of commerce, industry and culture.”

The original Penn Station was built in 1910, but despite being revered internationally as one of the great examples of railway architecture, it was demolished in the 1960s and replaced by the current structure.

There have been several attempts to redesign the station in the last 25 years, including moving it to the James Farley Post Office – a Beaux-Arts structure designed by the same firm who thought up the original Penn Station building.

The four designs were presented by Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Josh Sirefman, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, SHoP Architects and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM).

Last year, SOM also presented its vision for the future of Grand Central station – another MAS initiative.



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