Founders Of The High Line And The LowLine Join Architizer’s A+ Awards Jury
December 7, 2012
Iwan Baan via highline.org
Architizer is hosting the world’s definitive architectural awards program, with 50+ categories and 200+ jurors. Alanna Okun, Assistant Editor at BuzzFeed Shift, will be covering relevant stories and news relating to the jury, the categories, and latest updates related to A+. See her previous post on Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp here. To learn more about the awards, visit architizerawards.com.
Robert Hammond, the co-founder and director of Friends of the High Line, has signed on to be a part of Architizer’s A+ Awards Jury!
You know the High Line. If you’ve visited New York in the last three years, chances are you’ve strolled the nineteen or so blocks, from Gansevoort Street all the way up to 30th, that the elevated park covers. It’s a manageable but substantial distance, and while you are on it you somehow feel both part of the city and privy to this secret overarching sense of it.
The park, which runs along part of the west side of Manhattan, looks like a garden from the future. It’s all tall, spiky grasses and benches that appear to rise organically from the boardwalk where tourists and locals stroll. It’s good for first dates and for showing your parents around the city, to keep them from worrying that you’re not eating well all the way out there in Brooklyn. As Hammond explained in his June 2011 TED talk, ”What really makes the High Line special is the people…I realized right after we opened that there were all these people holding hands on the High Line.” He added: “I think that’s the power that public spaces can have.”Aww.
Flickr user garvinj via highline.org
And now, owing in large part to an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign, the High Line will have its below-ground counterpart. Called The LowLine, this first-of-its-kind park will run along an abandoned trolley tunnel underneath Manhattan’s Lower East Side, allowing visitors to connect with New York in a totally new way. James Ramsey and Daniel Barasch, the project’s founders, have signed on to the A+ Awards jury as well. They’re perfect for the jury because of how deeply invested with community they’ve been throughout every phase of the LowLine project. Through Kickstarter, they raised over $155,000 to perform feasibility studies and create a full-scale model of the project, opening an exhibition called “Imagining the LowLine” in September to give the public a sense of the space.
Kickstarter, and crowdsourced funding as a whole (think public radio pledge drives), now allow this kind of crazy dream to become a reality. These campaigns can now take place on dramatically different scales. You can fund your short film, to be shot in a diner over the course of a single weekend, or you can fund a park in one of the most heavily populated cities on the planet.
This is not to say that raising money, even a relatively small amount, is easy — there are just so many projects, plenty of them worthy and exciting, that it can seem impossible to cut through the clamor and get your own work noticed — but there’s also real democratization at work, allowing anyone with ten bucks and a few minutes to be part of something far bigger. Like the A+ Awards, the power to decide what is and isn’t a worthwhile endeavor is no longer left in the hands of some stuffy, removed tastemakers; instead, it’s up to a dazzling array of innovators and open-minded artists and people who are actually engaged with the world. It’s up to you.