Highlines for everyone

Transformation projects, of inner city train viaducts to elevated public parks, are mushrooming around the globe. This week, for example, the design for the third and last section of the New York High Line was presented. At the same time, Rotterdam gained a first and temporary part of its own high line: the so-called Luchtsingel.

The Luchtsingel, designed by ZUS, was pronounced the winner of a special competition organized by the municipality of Rotterdam. All residents of the city could vote for one of five projects, that would then receive part of a 4 million Euro funding. The other projects included a City Farm and a Music program. The temporary wooden structure of the Luchtsingel connects the central but derelict part of Hofplein to places north of the train tracks. There it connects to Rotterdam’s existing high line, the Hofbogen (also known as Hofpleinlijn, before it was deactivated in 2009). Several plans have been made to turn this viaduct into a public park, or build housing on top of it. This hasn’t been made viable yet, except for some reuse of the arcs for the Mini-Mall. Now a first and temporary attempt will be made to explore the top of the viaduct structure and let people experience the high line effect in Rotterdam. The project still lacks funding, so sections of the wooden structure are actually being sold to people or companies who would like to have their name on it.

The High Line at the Railyards, the third section of this famous project, has been designed by Diller + Scofidio + Renfro. Part of the landscaping is left in a rather wild state, with the rusty tracks still in place. People walk through this part on white or steel pathways. Part of the deck is to be removed, showing the heavy overhead structure of the viaduct. Close to the junction of the tracks, a theater space was designed. The entire High Line will be open to the public by spring 2014.