The Lowline—a subterranean park project is almost a reality after the city of New York provisionally sanctioned the use of the space for this one of a kind project in the world. This concept was originally brought forward by a former NASA engineer and an architect. What it requires for now is for the group to fundraise $10 million and submit its final plans within the next year.The Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development – Alicia Glen – today announced that the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has finally selected the group that will take its plans forward. This includes conversion of the former Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal into the coveted public park that will ingeniously transfer the sunlight underground to grow plants – just like the outdoors. The technology was designed by James Ramsey of Raad Studio, which involves the creation of a concept called “remote skylight.” According to this concept, the sunlight will pass through a glass shield above the parabolic collector, will be reflected from that collector and eventually gathered at one focal point which will be directed underground. Sunlight will be transmitted onto a reflective surface placed on the distributor dish underground, and this will transmit that sunlight into the underground space.
This enables the transmission of the necessary wavelengths of light that can support the process of photosynthesis, which is needed for the plants and trees to grow. During daytime, no electricity would be required as sunlight would be enough to power all the lights and appliances. In September 2012, the Lowline team showed off a full-scale prototype of this technology which ultimately was a success and hence, used as a proof of concept.
The proposed terminal area consists of 60,000 square feet, running underneath the Lower East Side’s Delancey Street between Clinton and Norfolk. The Terminal has been abandoned for most of the century now, and converting this space into a one of a kind high-tech public garden will be an incredible transformation of a wasted space into an innovation hub. But there are still some hurdles to clear before this mind blowing concept can be turned into a reality. The Lowline group has got a provisional approval, which means they still need to meet several milestones and deadlines for the project. For starters, they need to design and apply a “robust” community engagement plan that entails at least “5-10 public design charrettes and quarterly Community Engagement Committee meetings.
They also need to come up with a complete schematic design document for the approval presentation. They also need to raise a fundraising target of at least $10 million over the next year if they are to satisfy the NY city authorities for the provision of a final go-ahead.
Are you excited about this project? What do you think about the technology? Can it be used in other applications?