The organizer of the "Beyond the Centerline" ideas competition, New York–based real estate company Fisher Brothers, has unveiled 17 shortlisted designs that were selected from a pool of over 150 entries submitted by architects, artists, urban planners, landscape architects, and students. Launched in November 2017, the privately-funded design competition asked entrants to re-envision and revitalize the medians on New York City's Park Avenue between 46th and 57th Streets. "The goal of this competition is to foster creativity and challenge participants to think outside the box; to propose exciting ideas that have never been considered possible for the medians; and to reimagine the existing urban landscape," according to the competition's call for entries. "We want ideas that bring Park Avenue into the 21st century."
Currently, all 17 finalist designs are on view at New York's Park Avenue Plaza and will remain on display until March 9. Voting is open to members of the public who live in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Our #BeyondtheCenterline display is up! Cast your vote for your favorite now until 3/9! Visit https://t.co/xsgMvX2WAN or stop by Park Avenue Plaza (55 East 52nd St) to see the display in person. #ParkAvenue #PublicVoting— Winston Fisher (@Winston_Fisher1) March 5, 2018
The participants were asked to take into consideration the neighborhood's context and deliver an innovative, interactive, and environmentally sustainable design that utilizes technology and creative use of materials. They were not, however, required to follow any restrictive guidelines, such as zoning codes.
The shortlisted designs feature ambitious concepts, including an artificial mountain, a large-scale aquarium, a botanical circus, a forest, a river, and floating gardens. The selected projects also feature a variety of spaces dedicated to various activities, including elevated pathways, yoga and performance spaces, and a skate park.
"While Park Avenue, with its median plantings and periodic art installations, remains one of the world’s most iconic commercial boulevards, I have long believed that we can and must be far more imaginative in how we encounter and utilize such a precious urban commodity," said Fisher Brothers partner Winston Fisher in a press release. "Our hope is that this contest and these proposals will spark a real conversation about what can be done to activate Park Avenue’s centerline for a new generation of New Yorkers."
The jury comprised Vishaan Chakrabarti, FAIA, founder of New York–based Practice for Architecture and Urbanism; Fisher Brothers partner Winston Fisher; artist Jon Kessler; Signe Nielsen, founding principal of New York–based Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects; David Rockwell, FAIA, founder and president of New York–based architecture and design firm Rockwell Group; Samantha Rudin Earls, senior vice president of New York real estate firm Rudin Management Co.; Michael Speaks, dean of the School of Architecture at Syracuse University in New York; and Xin Zhang, co-founder and CEO of Chinese commercial real estate company SOHO China.
According to a press release, Fisher Brothers will announce two winners on March 14. The jury's selection will receive a $25,000-grand-prize and the people's choice winner will receive $5,000.