New York’s High Line opens two timber bridges by SOM and Field Operations

The most recent addition to the High Line in New York City is now open to the public. The timber bridges, dubbed the Moynihan Connector and designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in collaboration with James Corner Field Operations, connect a number of civic spaces from Midtown West to the West Village.

The team describes the Connector as an “elevated, accessible, and episodic urban journey from the doorstep of Moynihan Train Hall to the contemporary public spaces of Brookfield’s Manhattan West and the verdant gardens and historic structure of the High Line,” which is made up of two bridges that run above Dyer Avenue and West 30th Street. The Woodland Bridge, the larger bridge, is 340 feet long and is made up of angle bracket arms and exposed weathered columns. In contrast, the glulam Warren truss that makes up the 260-foot-long Timber Bridge is made of wood that is sourced sustainably.

SOM Design Principal Kim Van Holsbeke stated, “The High Line – Moynihan Connector knits the city’s open spaces together — bringing greater accessibility to pedestrians across Midtown West’s major public amenities.” The Timber Bridge and the Woodland Bridge both have their own distinct identities and add to the High Line’s diverse experiences. Travelers, residents, and commuters alike enjoy an episodic journey through some of New York’s finest civic spaces as they walk from Moynihan Train Hall through Manhattan West, across the two bridges, and on to the historic High Line.

The two bridges share a material palette that includes bronze handrails and weathered steel decking, despite the fact that each bridge has its own architectural and structural expression. The scheme’s extensive landscape strategy includes a shift from high to low planting along the Woodland Bridge to create a “variety of expression as visitors move in each direction.” Additionally, the public space between the bridges has been designed to provide views of the timer structures rising above the pathways below.

James Corner, Founder and CEO of Field Operations, added, “Inspired by the eclectic character of the West Side and the High Line, the new Connector offers yet another kind of urban experience and promenade for the area.” The design combines surprising industrial features and materials with lush woodland vegetation and directed views of the city to create a sequential journey from one context to another. This new and fundamental person on foot walk interfaces Midtown to the High Line and the West Side with an uplifted feeling of show, exhibition, and joy.”

James Corner Field Operations completed the First Phase of Amazon HQ2 in Arlington, Virginia, the same week that the completion was announced. In the meantime, the CTBUH 2023 Award of Excellence, which was announced at the beginning of the month, included SOM among the winners.