2019 Design Brief

The Metals in Construction magazine 2019 Design Challenge is a competition to generate ideas for making foot travel a more attractive, engaging  component of living and working in a city. With urban environments overly reliant on automobiles, creating elevated, landscaped thoroughfares that encourage foot travel can reduce congestion and improve the overall experience of urban life. One testament to this is the popularity of the High Line’s transformation of an abandoned railroad spur into a pedestrian walkway, stimulating development in adjacent neighborhoods along the way. The High Line captivates New Yorkers in a way that few projects do. It also demonstrates the potential such projects have to revolutionize urban landscapes by serving not just as places for public recreation, but also, when properly designed, as preferred modes of travel for commuters to use on a daily basis.

It is for this reason that the publishers of Metals in Construction magazine selected a pedestrian bridge as the subject of the 2019 Design Challenge. The challenge is to conceive of a pedestrian bridge that connects the transportation hub of the newly adapted Moynihan Train Hall with the city’s largest development since Rockefeller Center, Hudson Yards, where studies project 100,000 workers will travel to offices there from the rail station each day.

Your challenge: Submit your vision for a pedestrian bridge that navigates efficiently between the two sites. The design must reward foot travel by providing a distinctive experience that transports the user into a different place, encouraging its use as the desired mode of daily travel. A panel of experienced architects and engineers will award the $15,000 grand prize to the design judged best at delivering this  connectivity while becoming an iconic urban pathway unto itself.

About the site: Moynihan Train Hall takes up two entire New York City blocks on Manhattan’s West Side, stretching from Eighth to Ninth Avenues between 31st and 33rd streets. The eastern half of the building across from Madison Square Garden and the present Pennsylvania Station contains the transportation hub in question, while the western half contains unrelated commercial use.

Hudson Yards is a large urban development occupying 28-acres that is transforming the West Side of Manhattan with construction of 18,000,000 square feet of state-of-the art commercial and residential space, including a new center for artistic innovation called The Shed. Accessible from the city’s widely popular High Line, competition entries must show the Shed as the termination point for the pedestrian walkway at Hudson Yards.

Specific Design Guidelines

The pedestrian bridge is to be of structural steel construction and span the activity below with a minimum of interruption and supports. It may be covered or open but maximum transparency is desired for both well-being and security. Your entry must show the pedestrian walkway originating at the transportation hub portion of Moynihan Train Hall and terminating in the vicinity of The Shed at Hudson Yards.

Elevation changes are permitted along the route, as are overlooks, kiosks, and other features. Access from street level may be provided at multiple locations. Keep in mind that its foremost objective is to efficiently serve the 100,000 commuters likely to use this pathway daily. And, of course, it must always be accessible for persons with disabilities.

Your entry must incorporate innovative design elements that make the bridge a distinctive, efficient, and desirable pathway for day-to-day, round-the-clock travel between the two locations. It must also clearly satisfy conventional design, construction, and sustainability standards. In addition to structural steel, the use of additional durable materials with long lifetimes, and of additional materials produced with fewer carbon emissions, will be considered in the judging. However, the required scope of this challenge is the goal of enhancing necessary foot travel by engaging pedestrians in an experience that rewards this mode of travel.

Submission Requirements

The process is composed of three parts:

  • Entrant Information – Contact information of the individual or team submitting. This will not be shared with judges and is only for contact purposes. Enter additional team names in the “Notes” section of the Project Description Prompts.
  • Project Description Prompts – A series of descriptive points related to the design and process of the submission.
  • Proposal Visualization – Up to 10 pages may be submitted to represent the proposal. This attachment should be one (1) multi-page PDF file (max. 10 pages) formatted at 11”x17” (ledger) and can include supporting backup data, calculations, and commentary to supplement the images. Do not link or embed objects. Links to any video or animated components may be pasted into Project Description Prompts. Maximum file size is 20MB.
  • All materials are due by February 1, 2019, 11:59 p.m. Once you register via this site, you or your teammates may log in and edit your competition entry as many times as you like until the deadline.