• PROGRAM: Masterplan
  • CLIENT: Architectural League &
    Museum of the City of New York
  • PARTNER IN CHARGE: Alessandro Orsini
  • TEAM: Shawn Conte, Cliff Chan, Alsira Rahximi

The design proposal for the celebration of the 200 years of the Commissioners plan of Manhattan aims to find a new approach to develop the grid and the actual condition of the city. In 1811 the vision was deeply innovative, although the grid has been conceived as a tool for cars, with the limitation of the two dimensional plane. In the 21 century social and physical networks changed and the grid needs to find its own ecological behavior returning to its roots and history and more importantly considering the 3rd dimension for the future development.
Our proposal is more than a project, it’s an action of claiming back landscape and life in the city through a pure cognitive re-interpretation of New York City where the most important fact is the experience of an observer who navigates through the urban fabric and the generation of events produced by human behavior.

In our vision the manipulation of the urban context and consequently the city fabric and its architectural objects are influenced by space and time through the experience of the observer and is resolved through an intentional “non-resolution” of dialectic forces. The experience becomes the 5th dimension of a four-dimensional space-time coordinate system within the urban fabric. The observers, who are the subject of the experience (tensions), are the inhabitants of our cities that interact with the main variables, space and time, in their own local frames. Using an analogy with physics this condition produces a hyperspace, where the main space-time phenomena are the collapse, acceleration and simultaneity.

Studying the different plans of New York City from 1609 we discovered a gap between the previous condition and the Commissioner Map of 1811: the original landscape was erased and re- created artificially somewhere else.

We added a 3rd dimension to the grid and we brought back the original landscape with hills and valleys.
The grid now collides with its original landscape and condition, changing the ecosystem and the natural identity of the town. These opposed forces, nature, versus man-made will reshape the grid into a new eco-system that will be naturally balanced, productive green helping the economy of the city, new activity for the inhabitants and tourists, a strategy for the water rise level that will reshape Manhattan into an archipelago, and high hills to catch the winds to produce energy. The ongoing project will give an opportunity to all inhabitants of New York to bring back the green. We are designing self initiative where everybody will choose how to improve the city. We will create artificial inflatable hills that will populate the city highlighting the need of a green public space. This project is a permanently under construction master plan that will help the city to reshape and adapt according to the needs of the users and their social behaviors.