SOM’s “Halo” viewing platform moves up and down like an elevator (Image: © 2012 SOM)

Flying saucers, glass roadways, subterranean caverns: three visions of the Grand Central Station of 2112

By James Holloway

October 25, 2012

Three leading architects gathered last week at the third annual summit of The Municipal Art Society to present their visions for the dramatic redevelopment of New York’s Grand Central Terminal. Foster + Partners, SOM and WXY each put forward ideas to renew Grand Central’s grandeur, while also making it fit for purpose for the the hundreds of thousands of people that will use the station on any given day in the next hundred years. The three schemes offer strikingly different visions for the future of the terminal, though only one includes an enormous flying saucer.

The call for ideas comes at a time when the station is seeing ten times the number of passengers than was the case when it was built. “The result is acute overcrowding,” Foster + Partners says, with the effect that “connections to the rail and subway lines beneath the concourse are inadequate; and the arrival and departure experience is poor. Added to that, the surrounding streets are choked with traffic and pedestrians are marginalised. The rapid growth of tall buildings in the vicinity has all but consumed the Terminal.”

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