Expect changes ahead in the renderings of Related Companies’ planned $15 billion West Side rail yards development: The developer has brought on Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates to lead the landscape design, tapping a design firm widely known for its work on public parks, including the planned Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Related was designated the developer of the 26-acre site by the Javits Center in May and is expected to sign a contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the owner of the yards, in the fall.
Related’s decision to bring on the design firm represents a shift from the bidding process, when it had West 8 lead the landscape architecture for its proposal.
Matthew Urbanski, design principal at Michael Van Valkenburgh, said much of the landscape design will focus on relating to the Hudson River given that the development will sit on a platform over the rail tracks that rises well above street level in sections of the site, especially on the western edge.
"Normally, if you move back in a block in Manhattan, you kind of lose connection with the river, just because it’s relatively flat, and you can’t see it," he said. "But if you’re moving back in on a high platform, and if you do it right, it could have much more deep views out to the west in the sunset; across the river."