New York City, NY, USA

4 Ideas for a New Penn Station

Top design firms imagine a bigger, better and much brighter future for NYC's major transit hub.

Photo courtesy of © SOM SOM's vision for Penn Station would expand the transit hub's footprint by two blocks.

Back in April, the Municipal Art Society invited four top design firms to re-envision Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. The designs were finally unveiled to the public this week as part of a campaign to draw attention towards the ongoing debate on the futures of Penn Station and MSG.

MSG currently sits on top of Penn Station, which according to MAS — as well as a chorus of other critics — severely restricts Penn Station's potential to grow and expand. When MSG’s 50-year permit expired in December, the arena applied for a permit to stay in its current location in perpetuity. The City Council will decide on the matter in July. In the meantime, dissenters are trying to drum up support to limit MSG’s permit renewal to 10 or 15 years.

There’s no question that these four design proposals are more spacious and architecturally pleasing than the current Penn Station, not to mention brighter. Take a look at the photos, read the firms' briefs and judge for yourself.

Photo courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro Diller Scofidio + Renfro proposes transforming Penn Station into a "porous and light-filled civic structure."

Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Josh Sirefman

“Penn Station 3.0, which will be a city within a city, a porous and light-filled civic structure filled with diverse new programs that reflect the hybridity of contemporary urban life. … The building will host transient and resident populations including commuters, office workers, fabricators, shoppers, foodies, culture seekers and urban explorers. In this plan, MSG will be located to the west end of the Farley building on Ninth Avenue, with access to Eighth Avenue.”

Photo courtesy of H3 Hardy H3 Hardy proposes an expansion that includes a three-acre park, two-acre roof garden and retail complex.

H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture

“A relocation of Madison Square Garden to a 16-acre site on the west side waterfront provides an enhanced venue with a singular new identity and expanded tourist, hospitality, and entertainment opportunities. The New Penn Station, including an eight-track high-speed rail expansion to the south, accommodates increased capacity and integrates community and traveler amenities, including a new 3 acre public park, retail complex, and 2 acre roof garden. Redevelopment of the Farley Post Office creates a centrally located Center for Education. And, perhaps most importantly, 24 million square feet of private development around Penn Station and up Seventh Avenue serves as an economic engine for improvements and a revived world-class commercial district.”

Photo courtesy of SHoP Architects SHoP Architects envisions Penn Station as a "bright, airy and easily navigable space."

SHoP Architects

“SHoP's plan imagines an expanded main hall of Penn Station as a bright, airy and easily navigable space that defines a center of a new destination district, Gotham Gateway. In addition to striking public architecture, the project proposes significant security and rail capacity improvements that address major needs at the existing station. The team proposes new development, as well as new parks and amenities, around the station to help defray the required public investment, including an extension of the High Line that connects the new station to a glorious and financeable new Madison Square Garden.”

Photo courtesy of © SOM SOM's design for a new Penn Station includes a rooftop garden that looks down into a central, transparent ticketing hall.


"The plan calls for the expansion of Penn Station’s footprint by two additional blocks to accommodate high-speed rail lines for the Northeast Corridor, expanded commuter rail service for the entire tri-state area, and direct rail connections to JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Airports.... The plan for the station itself is open and intuitive. A central, transparent Ticketing Hall is placed at the center of the site, with dedicated vehicular drop-off and radial, pedestrian connections to the city surrounding it. Below, two concourses running north-south seamlessly enable passengers to move from ground level to below grade.... The natural location for Madison Square Garden would be adjacent to, but not on top of, the major transit hub."

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