Some details about the landscape for the public park & gardens by Nelson Byrd Woltz
The landscape design by Nelson Byrd Woltz for the Public Square and Gardens, inspired by Manhattan’s rich ecological history of dense forest crossed by streams from the Hudson Highlands to the early industrial history of the 19th and 20th Century, will feature groves of trees, woodlands plants, perennial gardens and a 200-foot-long fountain that will mirror the flow of a river. Visitors entering from the north will be greeted by a seasonally expressive Entry Garden, while the southern edge will offer a dense canopy of native trees including Nyssa sylvatica, commonly known as black tupelo, or blackgum, in a Pavilion Grove, creating the perfect place for lunchtime gatherings or evening meals. At the Public Square at Tenth Avenue and 30th Street, visitors will find the fountain, a birch grove and a new entrance to the High Line.
An immersive and varied horticultural experience is planned across the whole site, with more than 28,000 plant species of varying color and texture, including more than 200 mature trees. The large trees, expansive native perennial gardens and patches of wildflowers will be home to migratory birds and pollinators. Throughout the Public Square and Gardens at Hudson Yards, pedestrian paths will be lined with seating walls and delineated by varying shades of gray granite bands of hand-laid cobble stones.
Beyond hardscape and planting design, the landscape platform itself is a technical innovation. Serving as a ventilating cover over the working rail yards below, the platform is engineered to support large-scale plantings and serve as a reservoir for site storm-water management and reuse. The space will feature nearly a mile of low garden walls, with nearly 80 percent designed for sitting and respite. Additional seating will be made available throughout Hudson Yards in a wide-variety, allowing for a full-range of experience.
Thomas Woltz, Principal of Nelson Byrd Woltz, said: “We approached this design by looking at the ecological history of this site, while also thinking about the hundreds of years of technological advances – including the innovations at Hudson Yards – that have enabled Manhattan to become a global hub. Both technologically complex and beautifully natural, the Public Square and Gardens at Hudson Yards is the newest place in Manhattan that will bring people together, from the local communities to the millions of national and international visitors. Inspired in part by the grand piazzas of Europe, including Rome’s Piazza del Campidoglio, our design uses the towers of Hudson Yards as anchors, the dense planting of trees as canopies to bring down the scale of the surrounding buildings and the garden landscape as the fabric that folds seamlessly into the edges of the park.”