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Park Avenue’s malls may be reimagined with elevated park, aquarium

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The finalists in a design competition to transform an eleven-block stretch along Park Avenue have been revealed

Alan Schindler

In November last year, developer Fisher Brothers launched a design competition for architects and urban planners to imagine a transformed eleven-block stretch along Park Avenue between East 46th and East 57th Streets.

Four months on, the jury in that design competition, known as Beyond the Centerline, has unveiled 17 finalists. The New York Times got its hands on renderings of some of the outlandish proposals which included creating an aquarium, a miniature golf course, a High Line-like park, and an “artificial alpine environment,” among others.

The Times singled out the aquarium and the mini golf. The latter was designed by architects Michelle Schrank and Dijana Milojevic who envisioned an 18-hole course, a restaurant, and a virtual driving range along the stretch. The former was designed by Eric Spencer, who said the glass aquarium was a reference to all the glass buildings surrounding the stretch.

Eric Spencer and Yuhao Zheng

In the next month, the jury, which includes architects like Vishaan Chakrabarti of PAU, and Signe Nielsen, of Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, will announce a winner who will receive a $25,000 prize. At the same time, the public will get to vote on its favorite finalist as well; The Fisher Brothers will display the finalists’s work in the lobby of the Park Avenue Plaza between March 5 to 9, and the winner of the public contest will receive a $5,000 prize.

While the proposals may seem unrealistic, they are meant to spark a real conversion about what could transform the Park Avenue stretch. Winston Fisher, a partner at Fisher Brothers told the Times that the competition was similar to the High Line design competition, which first received proposals for a rollercoaster and a colossal swimming pool, among others.

The medians in question along Park Avenue are controlled by the city, so anything that transforms of the space will need a host of city approvals first. The jury on the design competition however will announce the winner the week of March 12.