© Ballman Khapalova
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St. John’s Park is the terminus of the Holland Tunnel and entry to Manhattan, passed through by 100,000 people per day. The rotary distributes traffic into five directions using five offramps. Because of this complex traffic pattern, the center of the site remains inaccessible, unbuilt, and unbuildable. St. John’s Park is permanently closed to the public.
This proposal is generated from the geometry of the existing offramps, so that tunnel traffic may continue unimpeded. A continuous loop travels from street level to one level below ground, excavating the center of the site to create a park and allow pedestrian passage below the existing roadway. Rather than being an obstacle, the rotary now becomes a center for the neighborhood, linking Hudson Square, SoHo, and TriBeCa. The loop structure defines and interconnects all of the elements and activities of the new St. John’s Park, from the roadways to interior and exterior program spaces.
At street level, the loop creates a series of small parks protected from traffic: intimate piazzas, wild gardens, dog parks, and playgrounds. For cars, the walls that protect the parks frame the moment of entry into the city, reminiscent of Richard Serra’s Arc sculpture installed on the site from 1983-1987. Staircases, ramps, and elevators from the street leading down to the central Lower Park and the interior program spaces that surround it.