In the lead up to the building’s centennial in 2013, the Municipal Arts Society selected three prominent architectural firms, WXY Architecture and Urban Design, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and Foster and Partners, to put forward design ideas for Grand Central and its surrounding urban areas.
All three presenters showed the recognition that while the terminal is a great public space, there is a need to have an external urban space to balance the interior and exterior and give the building the prominence it deserves.
WXY Architecture and Urban Design (WXY)
Claire Weisz of WXY said Grand Central, in addition to Bryant Park and Times Square are three midtown living rooms, and suggested making vast urban improvements inspired by nature. Some bold suggestions would clear out the first six floors of the adjacent MetLife building, leaving structural columns and an urban forest. The west side of the elevated Park Ave would become a pedestrian walkway similar to the city park known as the High Line. A final move would see a large tower holding “Sky Parks” that continue the greening high into the sky.