Subway City is a speculative proposal that recalibrates urban experience along a strip extending across midtown Manhattan, from Weekhawken, NJ to Queens, and bounded by 29th and 43rd Streets, or roughly the site and scale of Superstudio’s Continuous Momument. Within this slice of Manhattan, urban activity is concentrated toward the center of the slice, around three prominent nodes—Times Square, Herald Square, and Port Authority. With the introduction of a system of people movers—conveyor sidewalks—located on street level, underground, or several stories high, this proposal accelerates movement along the east-west axis to complement the general north-south directionality of the existing subway system. With the prospect of accelerated mobility, people movers become attractors that collect and dispense inhabitants of the city at nontraditional termini strategically located away from existing nodes of midtown activity, elongating the fabric of urban activity horizontally along the strip. Where people movers cut through buildings, a series of notches articulates a dynamic shift in the relationship between infrastructure and the urban fabric.
To complement the strong vertical continuity of midtown Manhattan, revealed in the project research, and the east-west system of people movers, this project proposes a third architectural element—a series of triangulated reservoirs that collect and drain people between the people movers and the vertical circulation cores located within buildings. Occurring where people movers pass through buildings several stories high, these triangulated reservoirs diffuse horizontal movement along the north-south axis and elevate the public spaces of surrounding buildings to introduce new sectional relationships between program and built spaces.
Critic: Ron Witte