A New York City warehouse seems like an unlikely place for a park, but that’s just what you’ll find at Lowline Lab. The building is a prototype for a proposed project that will turn one of the Lower East Side’s abandoned trolley stations into NYC’s first subterranean park. Dan Barasch and James Ramsey, the creators behind the Lowline project, have been working on the space for seven years and over the weekend, finally opened the live experimental garden to the public.
"We're kind of blown away now that it actually exists," Ramsey told Curbed. "To our great delight, all of our equipment and technical pieces are performing in excess of our calculations.” The 1,000-square-foot display holds over 3,000 plants and operates as a fully functional and interactive laboratory. Here the creators can determine how the plants will grow and sustain themselves in an underground space. As the warehouse is only a few blocks from the proposed trolley station, it provides the best control space for testing their theories.
While the lab is made in a warehouse above ground, the proposed Lowline, which has an estimated 2020 completion date, will have sunlight projected into its depths through the use of the latest technology. Ramsey, his team at Raad Studio and Korea-based technology company Sunportal, have designed panels that track the sun’s movement throughout the day and funnel the maximum amount of light through a series of tubes that are then distributed throughout the underground space.
At the Lab, guests are encouraged to ask questions and freely engage in discussions about the garden’s science and technology. They want to serve not only as a gathering place for the community, but also a place to inform and educate. On weekdays they hold the Young Designers Program, a series of sessions that use the Lowline Lab’s experimental environment to educate youth in science, technology, engineering, art and math.