Lighting the Lowline

The Lowline, conceived by architect James Ramsey, explores the potential of creating subterranean public space, and in doing so, experiments with different daylighting techniques to bring natural light below grade.

The Williamsburg Bridge Approach at Delancey Street, circa the early 1900s. Once the site of the Williamsburg Trolley Terminal, it is now the location being explored as the possible site of the Lowline.

Site Plan showing both the Street-Level Plan and the Underground Plan.

Sketch of potential heliostat configuration for solar capture.

Sketch of heliostatic louver solar capture method – Study No. 1.

Sketch of heliostatic louver solar capture method – Study No. 2.

Overshadowing diagrams were constructed “to study the shading effect of the neighboring buildings” and determine the solar access at possible daylight-harvesting locations along the site.

Overshadowing diagrams were constructed “to study the shading effect of the neighboring buildings” and determine the solar access at possible daylight-harvesting locations along the site.

Overshadowing diagrams were constructed “to study the shading effect of the neighboring buildings” and determine the solar access at possible daylight-harvesting locations along the site.

Overshadowing diagrams were constructed “to study the shading effect of the neighboring buildings” and determine the solar access at possible daylight-harvesting locations along the site.

Overshadowing diagrams were constructed “to study the shading effect of the neighboring buildings” and determine the solar access at possible daylight-harvesting locations along the site.

Through a crowd­funding campaign on Kickstarter, the Lowline nonprofit raised more than $155,000 to build a full-scale, proof-of-concept model that uses more than 600 anodized-aluminum panels to form the complex compound-curve that functions as a solar canopy.

The mock-up with its anodized aluminum panels.

A detail view of the mock-up with its anodized aluminum panels.

A full-scale mock-up was built and on display as part of a two-week exhibit in September 2012.

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