Lara Zoë Steiner
Battery Tunnel Park PennDesign Studio Fall 2016 Critic: Ferda Kolatan In Collaboration with Gesu Almonte
Battery Tunnel Park is located in South Manhattan where the tunnel comes out into the city. It covers the tunnel entrance and exit, and enters into the existing parking lot. The intention behind the project is to extract elements linking the existing infrastructure to a new public park. The park and infrastructure work together to create a new spatial sequence that compels the public to circulate through both sections. To achieve this, the park begins by raising a portion of the lot over the roads that connect to the Battery Tunnel. This allows for a maximum amount of the space be returned to the public and separates the vehicular traffic from the pedestrian traffic that inhabit the park. The infrastructural and structural elements are combined to create the new landscape through the excavation of the site underneath the tunnels. The varying strata of soil that exist in the site were displaced and relocated to infill the existing parking structure. This allows the opportunity to selectively conceal and expose elements of the infrastructure. The main infrastructural element which was revealed is the Battery Tunnel, which was extended to connect to the new landscape. This soil removed, was then used to infill the plinth structure over the roads, and the bottom half of the existing parking structure. This establishes a strong visual connection between the existing structures and the natural elements within the site. To reinforce the idea of using soil as an architectural material it was treated, so it would reflect the design process along each of its stages of displacement.
Park view from ramp above tunnel entrance Park view from under plinth
The landscape of the park was created through the excavation of the soil surrounding the tunnels and the subsequent relocation around the rest of the site. In each location, the soil takes on a different identity. Where the soil was removed, the area was left as is, exposing the multiple soil strata and bedrock. Under the plinth the soil is left loose to create hills and ditches as it was dumped in. After the intervention of the new soil, retaining walls were imposed around the roads to keep the soil from interrupting the vehicular traffic. Above the plinth, the soil retains the marks of the truck used to relocate the soil. Since different trucks would be used to move the soil around, due to limitations in the existing infrastructure, different patterns and textures can be seen throughout the plinth.
Park Sections Ventilation Hole The ventilation digs into the soil creating a cork screw into the ground Plinth Soil The light soil that was placed on top of the plinth retained the texture of the truck used to place it. This soil has two texture, one on the outside and one on the inside based on the different machine used to place and level it due to the interior ceiling heights of the parking garage Plinth Split The plinth is split from where the plinth meets the ground on to the level of the plinth Excavation Zone The zone under the tunnels has been excavated to reveal the true nature of the soil. The bed rock, as well as multiple different soil stratas are exposed are visible Rebar The rebar coming in from the surrounding site and original structure are left exposed as a texture and detail with in the underground of the soil
Close up images of the model terrain
The other element along the site that links back to the infrastructure is the ventilation systems, which were moved from the tunnel to the existing parking, and redesigned to serve as the main catalyst for people to circulate throughout the project. This was exhibited in the main entrances (both vehicular and pedestrian) to the parking structure, and revealed along the newly exposed tunnel system. For the pedestrian access, the ventilation spirals itself along the platforms, stair, and pathways in the interior. As for the vehicular access, the ventilation would change shape to better fit the double helical ramps that serve as the parking entrance. The ventilation system wraps around the roads and into the park and parking structure, and spirals into the ground.
Entrance ventilation object Ramp ventilation object Hybrid mechanical object Park entrance; ventilation system Tunnel and ramp front view Renders of the complete park
Tunnel and ramp side view
Close up images of the model
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