When it was revealed that Greenwich Street would run through the redeveloped World Trade Center site instead of dead-ending at its northern and southern borders, a new neighborhood was born: Greenwich South. Two years later those 41 acres just below Ground Zero are still some of the darkest canyons in all of Lower Manhattan, and delayed WTC construction combined with the development bust casts some doubts on the long-term turnaround of this chunk of Lower Manhattan. But we can pretend!
The Downtown Alliance commissioned a design study imagining a Greenwich South built out to its full potential, and that study has just been revealed. (It's also on display in an outdoor exhibit in Zuccotti Park beginning today.) Though there's some serious architectural muscle behind this trippy urban-planning fantasy?including Morphosis's Thom Mayne, Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects and Beyer Blinder Belle working under team leader Architecture Research Office?the experiment is more "re-imagining" than master plan.
The goal is to turn Greenwich South into a 24/7 community connected to other vibrant "Lower West Side" neighborhoods like Tribeca and the West Village via the main artery of Greenwich Street. There are oodles of air rights from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel entry to exploit, and plenty of underbuilt properties within the 23-block area to tinker with. The design study was guided by five principles. We'll paraphrase:
1) Encourage mixed-use buildings (commercial, residential, retail).
2) Use the reconnected Greenwich Street as the neighborhood's lifeline to other 'hoods that actually have a pulse.
3) Better connect Battery Park City to the west with the Financial District to the east.
4) Favor dense, large-scale buildings with active bases and all sorts of funky stuff that gives power to the people.
5) Make people actually want to stay in the neighborhood for more than 30 seconds.