This “Horizontal Skyscraper” Expands Central Park to Infinity and Beyond

New York City is known for its expansive views: Nothing approaches the modern sublime quite like taking in the Manhattan skyline from a Brooklyn rooftop. However, the city does not offer a comparable experience with regard to the natural world. Beautiful as Central Park is, the experience of nature one finds here is cozy and personal, not breathtaking in the manner of the Grand Canyon.

For most New Yorkers, this isn’t a problem — but Yitan Sun and Jianshi Wu feel differently. Their radical conceptual proposal would turn America’s favorite urban park into a vast wilderness, complete with mountains, and surrounded with 1,000-foot mirrored walls that would extend its vistas literally to infinity.

“Our proposal is a hybrid multi-functional mega structure,” explained the designers in a statement. “Not by building up, but by digging down, it reveals the bedrock (mountain) that was hidden under Central Park, and creates space along the new cliff. The ambition is to reverse the traditional relationship between landscape and architecture, in a way that every occupiable space has direct connection to the nature.”

The mirrored walls around the perimeter of the park constitute the façade of a “horizontal skyscraper.” Inside this 1,000-foot-tall, 100-foot-deep “mega structure,” the architects plan to place residences, which will enjoy completely unobstructed views of the park.

Yitan Sun and Jianshi Wu claim that their proposal would make Central Park accessible to more people, noting that the park currently is only convenient for the fraction of the city’s residents who live or work in the area. The massive housing capacity of the project would ensure that more people than ever before would inhabit parkside residences.

Yitan Sun and Jianshi Wu’s design was imaginative enough to earn them first place in eVolo’s 2016 New York Skyscraper competition. Indeed, it isn’t every day that one gets the chance to contemplate what it would be like to bring the spaciousness of Yosemite to America’s most populated county.