James Corner, a well known Landscape Architect, has accomplished many things in his life. Born in 1961, Corner gained a Bachelor’s degree with first class Honors at Manchester Metropolitan University in England. He then moved on to graduate with a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in 1986. Immediately, he began implementing his designs and sought to educate others with an emphasis of “Developing innovative approaches toward landscape architectural design and urbanism.” His influence and motivation would put him as chair of the Landscape Architecture Department at University of Pennsylvania in 2000, Twelve years from when he began teaching. Corners Practice, Field Operations, set forth to implement his education strategy by creating and building an innovative landscape design into the urban environment of New York City.
His project, the High Line, finished in 2009 demonstrates Corner’s efforts to integrate innovativeness and urbanism. This mile and a half long piece of infrastructure, once used for NYC’s high rise train system, is now a fully functioning garden and pedestrian path that meanders its way through the busy city. The project was separated into 3 phases. The first 2 phases or sections focused on 10 blocks of track, with the third section being a half mile. The project took seven years to accomplish and has become a prideful piece of infrastructure to the citizens of NYC.
In an interview with James revealed that Corner’s inspiration in High line project came specifically from the site itself. He pulls from the moods and ‘phenomenal characteristics’ that embody an abandoned train track that cuts through the city. He claims that “every detail from the paths to seating down to the trashcans, lighting and water features would make this a generous, safe and secure space, but also give people the feeling that they’ve come across a secret, magic garden in the sky.” His additions to the track do seem to embody this mythology and post industrialism with an added modernization. The benches that come out of the ground as well as the framed views of the cities vistas entices many to walk the mile and experience the magic of the High Line.