Tectonic Planes


Robert Irwin, in his proposal for the Oval Mall at Ohio State University in 1978, wrote, “My proposal, ‘Tilted Planes’ was intended to act in concert with these 'given' phenomena…[it] would simply activate to a level of subliminal cognizance what is already present and thereby ‘mark’ the Oval as a special place, without changing its basic historical configuration.”

Penn Station deserves such treatment. The historic multimodal transit hub impressively delivers 650,000 people in and out of New York City each day, but the experience is marred by a disorienting, labyrinthine architecture. There is a deep, frustrated irony to arriving into the world’s most recognizable urban grid in such a confounding manner.

In redesigning Penn Station, I sought to achieve Irwin’s goal of activating "what is already present." This intervention utilizes the iconic grid breaks of Broadway and Hudson Boulevard as north stars for orienting oneself at Penn Station, and delivers a vast civic realm stretching from 31st to 34th streets, between 7th and 8th avenues. Constructed of two tilted planes and a telescoping paver geometry derived from the two aforementioned angles, this proposal reorients arrival and departure around 34th Street, and makes one’s experience at Penn Station an intuitive, fluid experience.