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See 5 visions of a post-apocalyptic Central Park

Get a look at the winning entries from the ICONOCLAST Design Competition

Max Touhey |

Back in April, LA+Journal launched an international design competition that encouraged artists, architects, planners, and designers to reimagine and redesign Central Park for the 21st century. The ICONOCLAST Design Competition, as it was called, was inspired by a hypothetical eco-terrorist attack carried out in protest to the loss of the world’s forests. Through this scenario, the design competition provokes artists to “tackle big questions about how we represent and manifest ideals of public health, democracy, and nature.”

There were 382 entrants from 30 different countries, with a total of 193 designs but ultimately, it was five entries submitted by entrants in Australia, China, the United Kingdom, and the United States that won. Each of the winners will receive a $4,000 cash prize and publication in LA+Journal’s LA+ICONOCLAST issue. Here are the winning designs:

THE GEOSCRAPER OF THE CAPTIVE BIOMES: Looking Back: One Hundred Years After the Eco-Terrorist Attack

UK-based designer Tiago Torres-Campos imagines what Central Park would look like in the year 2118, 100 years after a hypothetical eco-terrorist attack. This design focuses on a divergence from the park’s original design by Frederick Law Olmsted and transforms the park into a “Geoscraper,” or a giant horizontal skyscraper, with a thermal park, an earth museum, a forest, an expandable skyscraper, and more.

MANNAHATTA PLATEAU FOR FREDERICK LAW OLMSTEAD: A Re-Enchantment for a Post-Apocalyptic Ecology

New York-based firm Axis Mundi Design submitted an entry that illustrates a ravaged Central Park rebuilt with a green mega-structure, a plateau that supports a raised parkland that is home to “interconnecting environmental zones,” and a “bold, linear aesthetic.” The plateau is said to be infused with plants native to the region and seeks to re-establish the island of “Mannahatta” prior to Dutch colonization.

Central Cloud of Breath

Chuanfei Yu, Jiaqi Wang + Huiwen Shi of South East University in China offers visuals of Central Park with a layer of cloud over the park. “After the terrorist attack, Central Park lost all of its trees, causing the microclimate to change dramatically,” says the description for their entry. The layer of cloud-cover is artificial and is meant to decrease the evaporation of water to protect the reconstruction of the ecosystem, since this hypothetical attack has resulted in the loss of tree cover.

After the hypothetical attack, city authorities were forced to acknowledge public concerns about the depletion of global resources, says Australian design firm, e8urban. Their design illustrates a Central Park that has been encouraged to “rewild naturally within the existing structure of Olmsted’s masterplan.” Additionally, all vehicles in Manhattan are now electric with ride-shared incentives, allowing formerly car-dominated space to become new urban parklands.

The design by Song Zhang and Minzhi Lin from China focuses on a “grand plan” to address what they call “eco-gentrification,” described as the affects of environmental inequalities. As a result, their design aims to link Central Park with 59 communities in New York to serve as a representative of in the construction of high-end parks in low-income communities.

To see more from the winning designs and to catch a few honorable mentions, head on over to LA+ to catch the full rundown.