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THE NOMADIC GARDENS OF MANHATTAN, DESIGNING THE HIGH LINE
New York 2003
United States of America

PROGRAM : Designing the High Line
LOCATION : Manhattan Far West Side
SURFACE AREA : 1,5 Miles
CLIENT : International Competition organized by Friends of The high Line, NY
PRIZE : Citation
The nomadic gardens are a political project of humanistic ecology. The High Line, true red ribbon crossing the Cartesian grid of Manhattan's Far West Side, is changed into a structuring spinal column. It declares the territory like a place of the plurality of thoughts and actions as it recognizes an infinity of gardens there integrating the complexity of the human live. The chaos of universalization calls the diversity of cultures and metropolitan substances.

Linearly developed, the beams start to dance. They yield, undulate and slip in order to articulate the horizontal and vertical layers of the city through an oblique continuity. Between the vacuums of the structure, galleries of exhibitions of artists and craftsmen testify the artistic liveliness of New-York. On the rails, it is a new choreography of moving gardens, a dance of jewel cases of greenery. Place of individual, social and urban expression, the High Line tries a true interbreeding of the vegetable species coming from different horizons, but always moving. All the concept is based on the exploitation of the movement induced by the first vocation of The High Line to federate the exchange by the rail. Each one has its nomadic garden!

The wandering gardens, suspended and moving capsules parasitize the city. They are grafted on the façades, roofs, party walls and other inert surfaces, proposing an extension of each inhabited space. Objectively, they are everywhere. It is an absurd chaos, such a archipelago, a coagulation of small islands like fragments of continents. It is an incredible dispersion translating this idea of meetings and tended energies between the points far away from the planet. Each capsule contains a plot of land put on a technical floor. The thermoformed polycarbonate envelope consists of two distinct elements. On the one hand, the red cube in suspension is a genuine urban dustbin. Indeed, it recycles domestic garbage in a fertile compost regenerating the inert layers of the city. In addition, the transparent cube is a chameleon surface covered with photovoltaic cells, distributing AC current and changing opacity according to the desired intimacy.

Botanical greenhouses and landing stages with the organic paces, three chrysales invite the walker to stroll within the nomadic gardens. Then, the appropriation of this confined space changes the dreamer into a gardener. Thus the man essential vector of the meetings accelerates the natural process of mixing. With this new architectural attitude corresponds the new social and urban processes crystallizing the multiplicity of singular forms of life.

Last but not least, the interstices of districts crossed by the High Line are seen in their turn parasitized by an enormous organic snake sometimes vegetable sometimes mineral. It is a programmatic lava, fluid and dynamic. It shears in a vegetable contorsionnement the orthogonal grid of Manhattan. The angle and the curve dialogue increasing the landscape of diversity of the exchanges. This new built landscape connects all the parks and vacant districts. It is an incredible tectonics of plots of land which receive under its folds the new programs which will instigate wnomadicandering urbanity. It is an extraordinary challenge!

COPYRIGHT : VINCENT CALLEBAUT ARCHITECTURES