MPA’s work began with a rigorous study of the elevated and bridge structures. They discovered that there was a pattern of overhead volumes— “rooms,” Marpillero called them—made by the structural members of the elevated. If the rooms were treated as volumes, lined with metal-mesh scrims that would be lit from within, the structure would be transformed from an incoherent tangle of lines into a series of glowing lanterns. This not only improves the visual environment but provides important wayfinding, signaling to people where they can cross the street more safely from one side of the site to another. The landscape then becomes the ground over which this luminous elevated hovers.
Over the course of the project, the landscape has gone from snarled to composed, from harsh to lush, from prohibitive to inviting. It has also shifted from street to park. This would not have been possible if the Department of City Planning had not advocated for a green solution. The department encouraged us to create a lush refuge at Dutch Kills Green, the 2-acre park at the top of the site.