Catalyst architecture1


High Line

Interview with Richardo Scofidio, Diller Scifidio + Renfro
Producer: Hans Kiib



THE HIGH LINE – A New Architectural Typology

At just over 10 meters above street level, the High Line extends three kilometers through three districts of Southwestern Manhattan in New York. It consists of simple steel construction, and previously served as an elevated rail line connection between Penn Station on 34th Street and the many factories and warehouses on Gansevoort Street. Today the High Line is a beautiful park covered with new tiles, viewing platforms and smaller recreational areas. The park bridge has simple, uniform, urban fittings and features a variety of flowering plants, grasses, shrubs and trees from around the world.

The High Line project has been carried out as part of an open conversion strategy. The result is a remarkable urban architectural project, which works as a catalyst for the urban development of Western Manhattan. The greater project includes the restoration and reuse of many old industrial buildings in close proximity to the park bridge and new projects being added to fit the context. The outcome is a conglomeration of non-contemporary urban activities along the High Line, where mechanical workshops, small wholesale stores. etc. mix with new exclusive residential buildings, eminent cafés, and galleries. With the High Line, a new urban architectural typology has been created that is aesthetically enriching and sets new standards for urban transformation and urban life.

“The park accommodates the wild, the cultivated, the intimate and the social. Access points are durational experiences designed to prolong the transition from the frenetic pace of city streets to the slow, otherworldly landscape above” (, November 2012).



High Line, West Manhattan, New York

Initial program: Initially constructed as an elevated freight railroad, inaugurated in 1934. Closed as railroad in 1981.

New program: Elevated park space with footpath, recreational areas, viewing platforms

Architects: Restoration and new design: James Corner Field Operation Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Piet Oudolf 2007-2015

Client: New York City with support from Friends of the High Line and several private sponsors

Opened to the public: 1st and 2nd sections were opened to the public 2008 -2011, while the 3rd section was opened in 2014

Operation and maintenance: New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

Cost: 300 million USD/ 242 million EUR