by Christine Scott

For many New Yorkers, winter means it’s hibernating season. We stay home under the warm covers and indulge in a series Netflix marathon, watching our favorite series. But the city’s newest park addition might eventually change all that. Meet The Lowline, New York City’s newest recreational attraction, and the world’s first underground park. This soon-to-be sustainable winter escape will be located below Manhattan’s Lower East Side and when completed in 2021 and will span 1 acre. The idea is for it to mirror all of the elements of the Highline so that they can be enjoyed all year long, as it will be free and open to the public.

Many photos suggest that the underground park is going to be visually incredible, but the real masterpiece is the technological system used to keep the ecosystem alive. James Ramsey of Raad Studio invented the solar structure that will run actual sunlight from above ground and down into the park, known as the remote skylight.  Here’s how it works: sunlight is captured above ground with a solar collection dish and is then reflected and gathered at one focal point. The sunlight is then passed through a glass shield and directed underground. At this point, it is transmitted onto a reflective surface on the distributor dish underground, transmitting that sunlight into the space. The distributor dish is made up of a combination of hexagonal and triangular anodized aluminum panels. It forms a canopy that can direct the placement of light as well as cover all the mechanisms used in the park. This will allow visitors to see geometric installations formed by the panels that said to be quite beautiful.

The location of the Lowline was once a trolley terminal that was abandoned after 1948. Despite the neglect, the space has kept a lot of its incredible features intact, such as the crisscrossing rail tracks and vaulted ceiling.

If all goes to plan, the Lowline is set up to be the warm haven New Yorkers yearn for in the dead of winter. See photos of the Lowline and learn more about it here.

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