Sharing Models: Manhattanisms opened last Friday at Storefront for Art in Architecture in New York City with 30 models by 30 international architects, including work by SCI-Arc Graduate Program Chair Elena Manferdini.
The exhibition challenged participating architects to produce models that best exemplify their vision of New York City’s future. The models, each a section of Manhattan, establish analytical, conceptual, and physical frameworks for inhabiting and constructing urban space and the public sphere. Together they present a composite figure; a territory that is simultaneously fictional and real and one that opens a window into new perceptions of the city’s shared assets.
In a city that has grown accustomed to concrete, brick and mortar, Elena Manferdini’s project The Sixth Burrow presents a new view of nature in Manhattan. The site is situated along the 42nd street corridor in Midtown which is a network connecting New York’s neighborhoods and boroughs. This two mile wide strip of Manhattan contains major infrastructure like the Lincoln Tunnel, Queens Tunnel, Grand Central Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. While these networks connect Manhattan to other areas like New Jersey and Queens, the presence of the United Nations on the site connects New York City to the world. The site is home to the Theater District but is also steps away from other cultural landmarks like Times Square, the Chrysler Building and Bryant Park.
Using Bryant Park as a point of departure, The Sixth Burrow proposes an alternative future for a New York City with expanded public green spaces. With the public library as the anchor point, this project proposes extending the current park west to the edge of the island. In the process of the park’s extension, this new excavated park would require the removal of many existing buildings. But in order to maintain the same volume of inhabitable space, the buildings would be relocated alongside the park and directly underneath the existing construction in Midtown. This new park will provide 0.25 square miles of public space and 2.75 miles of frontage overlooking it. The properties around the periphery of the park stand to gain a new view of nature and an increase in value. While the project as a whole aims to shift the paradigm of New York City urbanism.
The exhibition is on view through September 9 at Storefront for Art and Architecture located at 97 Kenmare Street, New York, NY.