Architecture firm So+So Studio has proposed a new vision for New Jersey’s Bergen Arches, an abandoned four-track cut of the Erie Railroad that runs one mile through the Palisides. The site has remained unused, overgrown, and forgotten since the last train ran in 1959. So+So, however, sees a much more lively vision for the tracks, and they’ve teamed up with Green Villain, a Jersey City place-making organization, and local residents to turn the unused space into a locale for artistic and leisure activity.
Dubbed “The Cut,” the project is both architectural and landscape-based, calling for an elevated system of ramps and walkways that will take participants under canopies, through sculpture gardens, and into graffiti-tunnels more than 60 feet below ground. With the public park, So+So hopes to promote contemporary local artists as well as expose decades of preserved graffiti and art that line the forgotten landscape.
Existing landmarks and proposals at the site
The Bergen Arches renovation will also do much for Jersey City on a global cultural scale, both by exposing the rich history of the area and engaging the public in their own backyard. Jersey City is undergoing a number of changes, much driven by the influx of new residents priced out of Manhattan and Brooklyn. So+So hopes that they can bring the topic of urban land conservation to the forefront of the conversation as area evolves.
As the creators describe:
“As our post-industrial city continues to amass mid to high-rise towers, it is imperative that we look down as much as we look up for the answers about individuality and place. The stick and steel will allow the residents to live here, Restaurant Row to eat here, but without Jersey City-centric projects that allow us to compete on the global stage we will always be haunted by the specter of placelessness. The Bergen Arches project is the answer. Help us to reclaim and revitalize these spaces that bear such history and call for a creative future for Jersey City.”
The project would be completed in phases, and the initial goal would be to connect several neighborhoods with two new cuts. One of these cuts would include an elevated walkway that would wind through the storied site, and in some areas descend as low as 60 feet beneath the street.
You can find out more about this project at the Bergen Arches website.
[Via Jersey Digs]
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