Poised to become the West Side’s most popular gathering place, the Public Square and Gardens is the heart of Hudson Yards, offering expansive parks, gardens, and outdoor space for residents and the public. Designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, the plaza will showcase native horticulture, dramatic gardens, water features and numerous shaded seating areas. Vessel, a monumental interactive design piece by Heatherwick Studio will be featured at the center of the space.
THOMAS WOLTZ | NELSON BYRD WOLTZ LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
Nearly one-half of Hudson Yards is set aside as open space and parkland that winds through retail, residential and commercial buildings. The focal point that connects these elements is the Public Square and Gardens, a five-acre space of lush greenery and cultural expression.
The space itself is a work of art. The renowned firm of Nelson Byrd Woltz, whose innovative projects have invigorated cityscapes and defined urban and rural environments throughout the world, has designed the landscape. More than 28,000 plants, including some 200 mature trees, will adorn the scenery.
Like all of Hudson Yards, the Public Square and Gardens is built on a specialized platform over working train tracks – a circumstance that presents a challenge for soil, irrigation and planting strategies. Thomas Woltz, named Design Innovator of the Year by The Wall Street Journal Magazine in 2013, and his team at have introduced a one-of-a-kind cooling system to protect roots from the train heat below, and summer heat above, for year-round planting.
In addition, every drop of rainwater that falls onto Hudson Yards will be collected into a 60,000-gallon tank and used for irrigation – an innovation that lessens the burden on New York City’s infrastructure and will help keep the Hudson River clean.
The Public Square and Gardens is more than a simple park though – it’s a gathering place where people will congregate in a thoughtfully crafted outdoor space to cultivate ideas, experience art, and engage in self-expression.
Thomas Woltz calls the Public Square and Gardens the “living room of the West Side” – a crossroads where three of the city’s most dynamic parks coalesce into an important community space.
Nelson Byrd Woltz
Tasked with creating the dynamic landscape destination at the center of Hudson Yards. Principal Thomas Woltz explains how the planting strategy is designed to welcome visitors throughout the year.
THOMAS HEATHERWICK | HEATHERWICK STUDIO
The Public Square and Gardens is imagined as a place where neighbors and visitors can engage in cultural events and artistic endeavors of every kind. At the very center of the square, one commission will define the space – Vessel – a public landmark by Heatherwick Studio. The piece, which designer Thomas Heatherwick calls “an invitation to play,” is designed to draw people into the heart of Hudson Yards.
At the edge of the Public Square and Gardens will be The Shed – a new center for artistic invention in New York. Scheduled to open in spring 2019, The Shed will commission and present new work by artists across many disciplines, including music, art, dance and performance art. The Shed will be adjacent to 15 Hudson Yards.