NYC Mixed-Use Towers over Trains

Local readers… NYC readers… I’m sure you can empathize with this. Instead of walking through the treacherous winter weather to catch your train, wouldn’t you rather just take an elevator downstairs from your apartment to hop on the tracks to work?

Of course you would.

Well, AMLGM plans to make it a reality in the four boroughs besides Manhattan that make up New York City. The gallery above is a sample of their winning proposal called Urban Alloy (#1 in Metropolis’ Magazine’s Living Cities Residential Tower Competition) that addresses a few increasing issues all in one. With population growth showing no signs of letting up, urban areas are having to become more dense. Urban Alloy intends to attack this issue head-on by transforming unused space above NYC transportation hubs into mixed-use housing.

As you can see from the eye-catching (to say the least) sprawling tower above, housing units are added above the train, with retail and food services included on the floors above and alongside the tracks. The renderings are breathtaking, especially the interior spiral that showcases a mall (with its own Apple Store, of course) and the tunnels that extend over the tracks (reminiscent of Rem Koolhaas’ tube over the train station at IIT’s McCormick Tribune Campus Center).

However, we see this abstract form as an eye sore in a neighborhood devoid of any buildings akin to the height of the added tower or even close to modern architecture. I would prefer to see something more fitting per the location’s context and at a smaller scale. This is a question I would pose to AMLGM at least to get more details.

At the end of the day though, I really appreciate the proposal’s overall goals. This is right in line where the architecture industry is moving to solve the increasing population of urban areas and Urban Alloy is already at the forefront of a solution at high efficiency. Besides, who wouldn’t want to swing by the Apple Store while waiting for a probably delayed train? At least we can do just that in one swoop while avoiding the snow, ha!


Urban Alloy proposes a residential typology rooted in the remnant spaces surrounding the intersection of transportation infrastructure, such as elevated train lines and freeway interchanges. With the proposed design and specified materials, we aim to optimize a heterogeneous and highly linked set of living environments capturing the air rights above these systems.

More info via ArchDaily.