May 13, 2008
by: Daniel Fox

Event: Project Team Collaborations: No. 7 Subway Extension; part 3 of Architects in Training 2008
Location: Dattner Architects, 04.30.08
Speakers: Judith Kunoff, AIA, LEED AP — Chief Architect, MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) (CCM); Kieran Spillane, PE — Senior Supervising Engineer, Certified Project Manager — Parsons Brinckerhoff (prime consultant to NYCT); Beth Greenberg, AIA — Principal, Dattner Architects (architect, consultant to Parsons Brinckerhoff)
Organizer: AIANY Emerging NY Architects (ENYA) Committee

No. 7 Subway extension

The proposed 34th Street entrance of the No. 7 Subway extension.

Dattner Architects/PB Americas

As mega projects are being planned and constructed internationally, NYC has its own mega project burrowing beneath its surface. Dattner Architects, as consultants to PE Parsons Brinckerhoff and MTA New York City Transit (NYCT), has been developing the No. 7 Subway extension since 2003. With ground broken at 27th Street, large drills will soon be inching their way to Times Square.

The $2.1 billion project will add two new transit stations, five power plants, ventilation buildings, and two miles of new train tunnels to the city’s infrastructure. The team believes it is a vital intervention to the city’s rezoning and redevelopment plans. Indications of its potential impact are taking shape as many developments are springing up along the Far West Side.

Unlike most development projects, the entire team is located in one office; architects, engineers, consultants, and even client representatives — collectively more than 80 professionals — work within a few feet of each other. This facilitates the process, allowing for multiple parts of the project to move forward simultaneously. For example, in 2002, the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) and conceptual design were developed concurrently.

In planning the extension, the team was faced with challenges that addressed not only surface interactions, but also below-ground obstacles, such as the multiple Hudson River crossings and West Side transit corridors (Amtrak, NJ Transit, and two Lincoln Tunnel tubes). The deepest tunnels in NYC will make up the No. 7 Subway extension.

Circulation studies, or “frustration level diagrams” as stated in the PowerPoint presentation, analyzed how to move thousands of riders through the stations most efficiently. Once in the tunnels, riders will be greeted with state-of-the-art metallic finishes and creative lighting. Walls will be covered with murals integrated with directional signage. Taking cue from many European stations, access-ways will also feature diagonally moving elevators — a first in NYC, and multiple escalators will add to fluidity of movement.

The stations above ground will consist of metal-and-glass canopied entries surrounded by park spaces and pedestrian-friendly plazas. The ventilation and power stations will incorporate metallic façades. These elements are still being designed.

Overall, the presentation emphasized the team effort required to develop the No. 7 Subway extension. The proposal attempts to create solutions for a better living standard in the city.

Harry Gaveras, AIA, is the principal of Propylaea and the co-chair of the AIANY Emerging NY Architects committee.


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