High Line timeline: a monograph on Diller Scofidio + Renfro and James Corner Field Operation’s masterpiece
Providing not just a blueprint for urban regeneration since its completion in 2014, the High Line is held up as the quintessential example of working with what you have. It began life as a chunk of New York’s West Side Line, a 19th century freight railway, abandoned for two decades and seemingly without purpose in a city emerging from a long period of economic stagnation. In 2004, a competition was held to explore ideas for bringing the elevated section of track back to life.
The winning scheme by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and James Corner Field Operations took a decade to bring to fruition, involving a carefully devised blend of architecture and planting that sought to emphasise the wilderness quality that had sprung up amongst the graffiti and retain as much of the hefty engineering structure as possible.
The High Line has been a triumphant success and this monograph mimics the project’s horizontal slash across the urban landscape, with copious fold out pages that track the path, the plants, the process, the existing site and the state of the Line today. Written by the protagonists and charting the design process from first sketches to mature planting, it’s the next best thing to walking the High Line yourself.