In the News—Hudson Yards Public Square

Hudson Yards is a new 28-acre real estate development in New York City. It’s among the largest real estate projects to be developed in NYC since Rockefeller Center opened its first building in 1933.

At Hudson Yards, everyone can enjoy the Public Square, magnificent Gardens, and innovative architecture. Residents, commuters, and visitors are refreshed by the lush garden areas that span 14 acres. The public square and garden areas include over 32,000 flowers, 50,000 bulbs and 225 trees—an unrivaled show of greenery for any New York City location.  

Hudson Yards includes 20 million square feet of residential and commercial spaces, including almost 4,000 residences, and over 100 shops and restaurants for the public to enjoy.

Key project design members for the Public Square and Gardens are Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects (NBW) in collaboration with Heatherwick Studios. Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates is the overall project architect.

Sponzilli Landscape Group played a vital role in the installation of Hudson Yards Square and Gardens and is gratified to be part of this remarkable NYC project.

The Plaza Is a Vibrant NYC Achievement

A view of the Plaza at Hudson Yards Public Square
Photograph by Barrett Doherty

The Hudson Yards Plaza is becoming an iconic NYC landmark that millions of people will visit and enjoy annually.

“The Hudson Yards Plaza brings vibrancy to the heart of the largest private development in American history, seamlessly stitching newly minted, innovative architecture with the surrounding urban fabric. A technological achievement that supports a healthy ecosystem on the roof of a working train yard, the Plaza hosts world- class events and art exhibitions, while providing an outdoor gathering place for the transformed neighborhood and its expected 24 million annual visitors.” (Landezine International Landscape Award, “The Hudson Yards Plaza by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects”)

Hudson Yards Public Square Integrates Well With Its Surroundings

Hudson Yards Public Square’s design complements and acknowledges the surrounding city landscape.

“The Hudson Yards landscape responds to the confluence of three significant landscapes on the west side of Manhattan: the High Line, Hudson Park and Boulevard, and Hudson River Park. The meandering nature of the High Line and similarly linear quality of Hudson River Park are artfully captured to effortlessly flow into the spacious gathering place of the Public Square and Gardens.” (Damian Holmes, WLA, “The Hudson Yards Public Square and Gardens were envisioned as a contemporary plaza”)

Landscape selections helped to create an eye-pleasing connection between the Plaza and Manhattan’s High Line public park.

Greenery and walking path at garden at Hudson Yards
Photograph by Barrett Doherty

“The plants chosen for the Plaza and Garden continue the rich expression of horticulture through many of the same native species seen on the nearby Highline, though set in more formal arrangements, creating a visual connection between the two. Paving strategies and stone inlay patterns invite people to wander through each area of the Plaza, to discover gardens, artwork, and connections, all radiating out from Heatherwick’s Vessel at the center.” (Damian Holmes, WLA, “The Hudson Yards Public Square and Gardens were envisioned as a contemporary plaza”)

Hudson Yards Public Square Designed to Enhance Urban Life

Arch Daily provides insight into how Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects designed Hudson Yards Public Square and Gardens with people in mind, using NBW’s own text.

“The Public Square and Gardens speaks to the urban condition; it is a place for the individual, an informal gathering, events, exhibitions and more . . . 1,300 linear feet of seating in the form of benches and low walls reinforce the Plaza geometries, innately encourage visitors to use the space as a site of reflection and repose. The Bosque provides a horticultural ceiling of enfolding canopy and foliage. Coupled with crushed stone surfaces, the tree canopy mediates the height of the adjacent skyscrapers, creating naturally intimate places at a human scale.” (ArchDaily, “The Public Square and Gardens at Hudson Yards / Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects”)

NBW also describes the intricate technical and aesthetic considerations that were necessary to include for the successful development of the Public Square and Gardens.

Entrance to the subway at Hudson Yards

“The Square offers large and small scale gathering spaces in cafés, gardens, and plazas at the convergence of the Highline, 11th Avenue, Hudson Boulevard, and the new number 7 Subway station. The landscape coordinates the technical and aesthetic aspects of the public space: civil engineering for storm water management, ADA and emergency access to all areas, structural engineering of the platform over the rail lines below, and connections with the architecture at ground level and above.” (Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, “The Public Square and Gardens at Hudson Yards”)

A Landscape for All Seasons

Landscaping in Hudson Yards with the Vessel in background
Photograph by Barrett Doherty

Landscape designers selected trees, plants, and flowers for the Public Square and Gardens while keeping New York’s distinct seasons in mind. The landscaping also addressed the needs of migratory birds and pollinators.

“Informed by the regional ecology of the Hudson Valley, the planting palette responds to carefully studied lighting and environmental conditions providing a resilient expression of place. Curated plantings selected by color and texture provide interest in all seasons, from bulbs that bloom in early spring to grasses that present richly in winter while providing habitat and fodder for migratory birds and butterflies.” (Landezine International Landscape Award, “The Hudson Yards Plaza by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects”)

“… fruiting trees and shrubs such as Serviceberry, Spicebush, and Winterberry will attract species like Warblers, Sparrows, and American Redstarts to the site.” (Damian Holmes, WLA, “The Hudson Yards Public Square and Gardens were envisioned as a contemporary plaza”)

Sponzilli Landscape Group is a commercial and residential landscaping company. Sponzilli Landscape Group specializes in landscape design, lighting, and construction and has gained recognition for their award-winning designs in both New Jersey and New York City. Contact us.

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