Queens Plaza Bicycle & Pedestrian Improvements Project

Queens, NY

Integrating infrastructure, environmental art and ecology to create a ribbon of vibrant social spaces that stand up to the presence of active elevated subway structure
The project for Queens Plaza creates a coherent public realm, supporting bicycles and pedestrians, across a complex and fragmented 1.3 mile-long urban site dominated by multiple transportation infrastructures. The multidisciplinary team in which Marpillero Pollak Architects (MPA) was Architect and Urban Designer, was led by Margie Ruddick/WRT, and includes Leni Schwendinger Light Projects as Lighting Designer, Michael Singer as Artist, and Langan Engineering.


The team used a site systems approach to establish the urban design framework and deploy strategic interventions to build legibility, consistency, and identity at multiple scales, integrating old and new, large and small, natural and constructed. Elements of paving, lighting, storm water management, and seating integrate public art, architecture, and landscape to construct a ‘thickened’ ground able to stand up to the vertical presence of the existing elevated structure.


The treatment of the elevated structure itself is a proposed future phase, that will complete the vision for the Queens Plaza project: three minimal interventions will harness the power of the existing elevated structure, transforming it from a tangle of steel into a wayfinding icon. The illuminated mesh surfaces of the Rooms, the Light Lines, and the Media Screens will animate the elevated from within, integrating it in a new and vibrant 24 hour urban neighborhood.
Completion Date


Project Team
Urban Designer & Architect: Marpillero Pollak Architects
Team Project Lead, Landscape Architect: Margie Ruddick/WRT
Lighting Design: Leni Schwendinger Light Projects
Civil Engineering: Langan
Artist: Michael Singer


Sam Oberter


Case Study, NYC High Performance Landscape Guidelines
“Queens Plaza: Infrastructure Reframed”, Urban Omnibus
Citation for Integrated Transportation and Open-Space Planning, Boston Society of Architects
Merit Award, AIA New York
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