After more than a year of studies, the City administration announced that the new traffic configuration at Columbus Circle -- aimed at taming vehicular traffic and giving more space back to pedestrians -- proved more successful than anticipated. The new configuration follows the actual circle and allows for a center space close to 180 feet in diameter, as well as substantially widened surrounding sidewalks. The traffic studies concluded that this layout works--for cars, for pedestrians and for bicyclists.
The NYC Parks Department implemented an interim design for the Circle's center space that creates a welcoming oasis of seasonal plantings, seating and an improved paving surface. The Society praised the interim plan in letters to Parks Commissioner Henry Stern and City Planning Chairman Joseph Rose, but we called upon the City to add a crosswalk between the center circle and the Merchant's Gate entrance to Central Park. This would make pedestrian access between the two destinations safer and easier.
After an extensive RFP process, the City selected the engineering firm Vollmar Associates and the design firm McCobb and Associates to develop a permanent new design for Columbus Circle. When their plans met opposition from community groups, civic organizations, community boards and city agencies, the City hired the Olin Partnership in the Spring of 2002 to develop a proposed scheme for the re-design of the public space at Columbus Circle. The MAS has advocated that Columbus Circle become one of the great civic spaces of the world, and that a world-class design be created for this site. In l997, the MAS invited six prominent designers to propose designs for the circle; these results were published in a special issue of The Livable City entitled "Full Circle: Invited Designs for Columbus Circle. The Olin Partnership, in conjunction with Machado Silvetti, formed a team for this consultation. A selection from their proposal is pictured left.
The Department of City Planning is currently presenting the Olin Partnership design to the Tri-Board Task Force on Columbus Circle, the MAS and other interested civic groups. On September 9th, 2002, the Art Commission held the first public hearing on the Olin Partnership proposal, where the MAS delivered testimony.
Once the design is approved, the City hopes to begin construction in the Spring of 2003.
I never thought they would build it.
The Olin Partnership/Machado Silvetti
I liked this one by Rafael Vinoly.
Wow, these are some ambitious designs. Columbus Circle could be one hell of an intersection in the not too distant future.
To view the designs in pdf format, go here:
Very nice! I wonder though if that canopy will interfere with the views from Jazz@Lincoln Cntr at AOL/TW?
From the 1/19/03 NYTimes article:
At the same time, however, they will gain a renovated and relandscaped Columbus Circle, under a $21 million project designed by the Olin Partnership. It is obviously in the developer's interest to raise Columbus Circle from what the landscape architect Laurie D. Olin described as its malformed current state. "It's the kind of public-private partnership you hope will happen,"
Mr. Olin said. His design will reinforce the geometry of the circle with a new fountain around the Columbus Monument, an inner ring of yellow buckeye trees, a landscaped berm, an outer ring of honey locusts and concentric decorative paving.
A $21 million project designed by the Olin Partnership to renovate and relandscape Columbus Circle is under way.
Mr. Olin's design will reinforce the geometry of the circle with a new fountain around the Columbus Monument, an inner ring of yellow buckeye trees, a landscaped berm, an outer ring of honey locusts and concentric decorative paving.
20 May 2003.
It's too bad they didn't select a more urbane option.
I'm confused. *Are they just adding more plants and a fountain or are they going to put up that elevated circular thing as in Christian's picture?
What Edward described.
Wow, I have never heared of this before. Is it like a huge glass cylindar or is it just like an elevated glass canopy?
I think that it looks good along with time warner, the area looks like a space-age-tecno space centre or something.
Anybody knows when this project is going to be finish? I really like this project.