06 April 2008

hudson yards: a critique

From Metropolis: Stephen Zacks offers a critique of the recent bid contest for the development rights to the West Side rail yards in Manhattan. Without going into too much detail: in the wake of several failed attempts to develop this mega-site with public funding (Olympic stadium, Jets stadium, Javits Center expansion, etc. etc.), the MTA, owner of the site, solicited bids from developer-bank teams for the air rights to the railroad yards. Teams included, among others, architects Steven Holl, a KPF-Stern partnership, and a super-st.architecture lineup of Di-Sco-Fro/SANAA/SOM/Field Operations/Thomas Phifer/SHoP/Gary Handel. In the end, a Helmut Jahn / Peter Walker scheme for developers Tishman Speyer / Morgan Stanley took the cake. Needless to say, the winner's a real doozy.

[image: Tishman Speyer's scheme for Hudson Yards, from Metropolis]

I had some reservations with Zacks' piece on Dubai a few months back, and his positioning with regard to the role of corporate capitalism in architectural patronage is still a tad too accommodating for my tastes (for example: "I don’t have that much of a problem with corporations per se"). But I can agree to disagree: this is a fine piece, full of bite and wit, and it deserves a close read.

link: "Follow the Money" by Stephen Zacks, in Metropolis