Camden Highline raised park James Corner Field Operations

New York High Line designer to create raised park on disused railway in Camden

US studio James Corner Field Operations has won a competition to convert a kilometre-long section of disused railway in central London into "a garden in the sky" named the Camden Highline.

Informed by the New York High Line, which was designed by James Corner Field Operations with US architecture studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the Camden Highline will run from Camden to King's Cross.

The London version of the highly successful New York linear park will be designed by James Corner Field Operations in collaboration with local studio vPPR Architects.

Camden Highline in Camden
Top: the Camden Highline is planned for a stretch of disused railway. Above: it will be built in central London

The park will be built on a section of railway viaduct that was abandoned around 30 years ago when a length of four-track line was reduced to double-track.

Located eight metres above ground, the raised park will be accessed by a series of staircases positioned along its route.

"Camden is such an extraordinary place, a vibrant, hip, and diverse community that will soon enjoy an amazingly unique, public green thread that ties its various communities together in ways both revelatory and transformative," said James Corner, lead designer at James Corner Field Operations.

"We could not be more excited to work with residents and stakeholders to create a one-of-a-kind elevated park along the viaduct that speaks to the magical symbiosis of nature, culture, arts, and community."

Camden Highline raised park James Corner Field Operations
The park will run alongside an operational railway

Much like the original High Line in New York, the linear park will have a timber walkway along its length.

Sections of the walkway, which will be separated from the still operational tracks by a perforated fence, will contain picnic tables, conversation pits, grandstand seating and trampolines.

Alongside the walkway, there will be various planters containing birch and oak trees, butterfly gardens and perennials. Hanging vines will be planted to grow over the edge of the viaduct.

Camden Highline raised park James Corner Field Operations
The Camden Highline team plans to create a plant-filled walkway

James Corner Field Operations and vPPR Architects' design was chosen from five shortlisted teams bidding to create the raised park.

The studios will now work with London artist Hew Locke, community consultant Street Space and Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf, who designed the gardens for the New York High Line, to seek planning permission for the park.

"Camden Highline has the potential to become a really important new asset for the local community in Camden and people across the capital," said London mayor Sadiq Khan.

"This is exactly the sort of innovative, environmentally sustainable and locally-driven project which could make an important contribution to London's recovery from the pandemic. I really look forward to seeing these ambitious plans take shape."

The High Line in New York is an elevated park that was built on a section of abandoned railway on the west side of Manhattan. The first two-kilometre section of the park opened in 2009 with a second section that doubles its length following in 2011.

The park became so popular that by 2012 the New York Times said it had become a "become a tourist-clogged catwalk".

A third stretch of the High Line opened in 2014 and a further extension to connect the park to Penn Station was announced earlier this year.

Since the completion of the High Line, projects from the MVRDV's "plant village" in Seoul to the Atlanta BeltLine have tried to emulate its success. In London Diller Scofidio + Renfro designed an elevated linear park called The Tide on the Greenwich Peninsula.