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MAS Announces The Next 100: A Look at Grand Central and Midtown’s Public Spaces

MAS is pleased to announce the kick-off of The Next 100 – a design challenge for the future of the public realm around Grand Central Terminal.

The Next 100 invites three internationally distinguished architecture firms – Foster + Partners, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and WXY Architecture + Urban Design  – to re-think the public spaces in and around the Terminal. The work of these three firms will be presented at the third annual MAS Summit for New York City and in a subsequent public exhibition.

February, 2013 marks the 100th birthday of Grand Central Terminal. The Warren & Wetmore, Reed & Stem design for Grand Central is a product of a competition the New York Central Railroad held in 1903 for the design of a new terminal building on 42nd Street.  Since its completion in 1913, Grand Central has become one of the world’s most celebrated public spaces, an incredibly vibrant and active transit hub, and the core of North America’s most important central business district.  The Terminal continues to inspire architects, planners, and the millions of people who visit it each year.

“Grand Central Terminal is one of the most iconic buildings and civic spaces in the world but the surrounding streets and public spaces fail to live up to the experience of the Terminal.  How can we renew and reinvigorate the civic legacy of places like Grand Central?  How can we improve the experience of this neighborhood?   Almost 100 years after its completion New York City is very lucky to have these three incredibly distinguished design firms exploring these critical questions,” said MAS President Vin Cipolla.

“These firms have been selected for the breadth and depth of their work and for their civic commitment to architecture, infrastructure, and planning which continues to challenge New Yorkers to see their city differently while always insisting on the essential role of great design,” continued Cipolla,

With The Next 100, MAS will once again bring together renowned architects but this time to reimagine the public realm around Grand Central in order to help ensure the continued vibrancy of one of New York’s most important neighborhoods.

This neighborhood is expected to experience dramatic changes in the coming years.  Ambitious new buildings in East Midtown are already being planned and constructed.  The New York City Department of City Planning has proposed a zoning framework for the neighborhood, which, if approved, facilitates the construction of significantly larger office buildings that could change the character of East Midtown’s streets and New York City’s skyline.  And at the end of this decade East Side Access will bring Long Island Railroad passengers directly to East Midtown.

On the eve of Grand Central’s centennial, MAS believes that now is the perfect moment to examine and renew some of the Terminal’s enduring lessons – the role of great design in transforming the experience of cities, the value of public space in creating a sense of shared identity, and the essential role of infrastructure in an economically vibrant region.

Stay tuned to MAS.org for the latest information on The Next 100.