Imagine a future where navigating the two bustling blocks from Hudson Yards to Moynihan Train Hall means bypassing cars entirely. For this year’s 2019 Design Challenge by Metals in Construction magazine, architects, engineers, and students were called to do just that by designing a pedestrian bridge that could safely and efficiently shepherd the estimated 100,000 people walking from the train hall to Hudson Yards each day while minimally affecting the street below.
The winning design by DXA Studio draws on the interlaced steel plate work of the High Line and the steel structure of McKim Mead and White’s original Penn Station to create a sinuous and structurally plausible steel walkway the connects the transportation hub portion of the train hall to an area near The Shed at Hudson Yards.
The walkway consists of “transverse ribs shaped according to the cross-section of the pedestrian pathway and spaced approximately every 10 feet at the longer linear paths” according to DXA Studio Partner Wayne Norbeck. The pedestrian bridge is comprised of a lattice work that can finished differently as the bridge’s use changes—from path to plantings and other applications.
DXA Studio teamed up with structural engineering company Silman to shore up its design, called the Midtown Viaduct, especially for its longest span over Ninth Avenue.
“This design competition offered DXA Studio the opportunity to push the boundaries of contemporary steel construction to create a passage way between the historic repurposed Moynihan Train Hall and Hudson Yards,” DXA Studio Partner Jordan Rogove said. The competition was judged by a panel of architects and engineers including Claire Weisz, FAIA, of WXY and Jack Robbins, AIA, of FXCollaborative.
It’s unlikely the firm’s steel walkway will ever leave the page, but the design serves to move the conversation forward about the possibilities of steel construction and the crucial importance of walkability in cities. The winners were awarded $15,000, but moving the needle on issues of pedestrian safety is invaluable.