N E W LI F E FOR OL D I N F R A ST RUCT U R E From innovative technology allowing green
space to ﬂourish underground to the planned
ecological restoration of the Los Angeles River, adaptive reuse projects are becoming part of a movement to build more sustainably
n cities across the globe, changing technologies and ways of travelling and working are leading
to abandoned and obsolete public infrastructure.
Railway lines, roads, waterways, ports, underground stations and more lie empty and abandoned.
Meanwhile, we are running out of space in our towns
and cities to develop new parks and leisure spaces. And of course there’s an urgent need to design and build in a more sustainable way. It’s essential we reuse existing materials and structures as much as we can, rather than dismantling them and
A new future is being explored for New York’s Erie Canal
of a canalside pocket neighbourhood.
Meanwhile, James Ramsey and Dan
Barasch’s Lowline project is taking shape
sending their components to landﬁll.
in New York; they are using innovative
These factors are leading to
technology in the shape of remote
a range of imaginative projects
skylights to concentrate sunlight and
that see old infrastructure used
ﬁlter it underground through ﬁbre
in new and surprising ways.
optic helio tubes to turn an abandoned
We all know about the High Line and the
subway into a new underground park.
way it has transformed New York, of course.
While it’s probably the best known example of
the adaptive reuse of infrastructure, there are many
other incredible projects taking shape across the world. On p76, we interview Alice Shay. Shay works
within BuroHappold’s Cities Practice team, and leads the ﬁrm’s work on ‘stranded assets’ projects,
In New York, BuroHappold is working with the New
York State Canal Corporation and New York Power
Authority to imagine a new future for the Erie Canal. Once a key generator of wealth for Upstate New York, it now has huge potential for tourism and recreational use.
A competition resulted in shortlisted proposals that
are currently being explored, including freezing part of
In the interview on p76 Shay says, “Not
all towns want a High Line,” and a park is
not always going to be the answer. For some cities,
these stranded assets could be used for ecological
restoration or to mitigate the effects of climate change. The Los Angeles River project aims to revitalise an 11 mile section of Los Angeles’ concrete encased
river by stripping out the concrete bed and creating a green corridor where wildlife can ﬂourish.
As Alice Shay says in our interview, “Infrastructure
is the manifestation of our collective investment in the functioning of our urban places.” It’s important we don’t allow that
the canal to be used as a skating rink in winter, running
investment to go to waste.
and attract people to the area, and the development
Magali Robathan, managing editor, CLAD
a brewing festival to celebrate the heritage of the region
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CLAD mag 2019 ISSUE 2