Paul Rudolph’s Lower Manhattan Expressway

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Urbanists will be familiar with the history of the Lower Manhattan Expressway. This proposal for an elevated, ten-lane highway through the middle of Lower Manhattan was hugely controversial at the time and shelved in 1968, after years of protest.

Not everyone could let the project go, though. In 1967, the Ford Foundation employed the Brutalist architect Paul Rudolph to reexamine its potential.

Rudolph went way beyond the original plan. He sank the expressway into the ground and added enormous tower complexes on top with connecting monorails between them. Parts of the old city would have disappeared under vast pyramid-shaped, glass-and-concrete monstrosities.

If you want to learn more about the history of the Lower Manhattan Expressway, there is a great article in The New Yorker, here, and a long read at Curbed, here.

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