A Proposal to Reuse MSG for Moynihan East
February 6th, 2008, 3:24 pm
Think of Madison Square Garden as it exists today. Then imagine it as a light-filled glass container with terraced gardens down to the concourses of a renovated Penn Station. That’s how a Columbia preservation studio envisioned its future. Under the current plans for Moynihan Station a new MSG arena will be erected in the annex of the Farley building. The current MSG structure will be demolished and replaced with a contemporary train station (Moynihan East) and a 1.1 million-square-foot predominately retail development. Last year a group of preservation students at Columbia presented a creative proposal for an “urban oasis” in the current MSG structure. “We think the developers should adaptively reuse the arena structure, incorporating it into the new development,” they said. They describe MSG’s cable-supported roof structure – “the most contemporary and sophisticated of its time” – as the most significant aspect of the arena. The report makes the following design recommendation: “Preserve MSG IV’s structure and cable roof for Moynihan East: The Paramount Theater inside the Arena may be removed since it is no longer a part of MSG’s future. This will bring light into Penn Station and provide an above grade presence.” For the reuse they propose an “urban oasis:” “To redeem the structure in the public’s eye, the arena floor may be removed and a garden can terrace down into the concourse giving commuters an urban oasis. We also envision a refacing of the MSG drum, playing with transparent and opaque glass.” The students argue that adaptive reuse not only preserves an architecturally significant structure (mainly the roof) – but it also recycles the energy it took to construct it. What do you think of their argument? Should the arena structure be incorporated into Moynihan East? Is it possible to redevelop the train station without demolishing the arena?