The Canadian Center for Architecture sponsored a design competition in 1998 aimed at finding solutions for “how to repair the scars left by transportation structures that are vestiges from a bygone era of economic activity.”
The site selected for the competition was a part of Manhattan’s West Side, an area that played a key role in New York City’s development during industrialization and the golden age of rail and sea transport and home to an impressive number of railways, warehouses and abandoned factories. Competitors were encouraged to consider how to overcome the site’s isolation, spark new forms of urban experience, and vitalize those forms that may have been overlooked. In February 1999, a jury of eight international architects and city planners, headed by the CCA’s Founding Director and Chair of the Board of Trustees, Phyllis Lambert, selected the five finalists among some one hundred nominations from around the world. The finalists included Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos, Van Berkel & Bos UN Studio, Amsterdam; Peter Eisenman, Eisenman Architects, New York; Thom Mayne, Morphosis, Santa Monica; Cedric Price, Cedric Price Architects, London; and Jesse Reiser and Nanako Umemoto, Reiser + Umemoto RUR Architecture P.C., New York. A select jury including Phyllis Lambert, Founding Director of the CCA, Frank Gehry and Philip Johnson selected Eisenman’s design.
Members of the winning team included David Childs and Marilyn Taylor of SOM (urban design), Craig Schwitter of Buro Happold (structural engineering), Dan Baer and Tom Jost of Edwards and Kelsey Engineers (transportation), Michael Rushman of Land Strategies (development), and Laurie Olin of Olin Partnership (landscape architecture).