18 May 2022 • 5 Mins Read

A study in architecture: Renderings show the changing face of New York by 2036

The iconic New York skyline is set to change over the coming years, and with numerous development and rejuvenation plans already underway, it won’t be long before the architectural renderings are a reality. 

So, what are the big additions to New York’s proposed facelift? In the already overcrowded Big Apple, the real architectural challenge is making the most of small or disused spaces, which can call for a little extra creativity. To show you exactly what can be achieved by a little innovative thinking, here’s a selection of some of the biggest changes planned for New York over the next two decades.

The World Trade Center

Completely remodelling Downtown Manhattan, the World Trade Center complex is in the process of being built. The One World Trade Center, designed by architect, David M. Childs (Skidmore, Ownings & Merrill), opened in October 2014 and offers 3 million rentable square feet of space. It now sits alongside the 7 World Trade Center and 4 World Trade Center, however the plans don’t stop there. The 2 World Trade Center is set to be the new headquarters for 21st Century Fox and News Corp, and the 3 World Trade Center, designed by Richard Rogers (Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners) will have 360˚ panoramic views of New York thanks to its load-sharing system of diamond-shaped bracing.

Cornell Tech Campus

Cornell Tech is currently situated in Manhattan’s Chelsea area but the campus will be moving to Roosevelt Island in 2017. Not only does the new campus make use of an under-utilised space which lies between Manhattan and Queens, the new buildings will be designed in line with LEED, Net Zero and Passive House principles, resulting in one of the most environmentally friendly and energy-efficient campuses on earth. When the project is fully completed in 2043, the campus with sprawl over 12 acres of the island.

The Lowline

Innovative project, the Lowline, aims to create more green space in the city in order to improve the lives of New Yorkers. The project is set to transform the former Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal on the Lower East Side of Manhattan into an underground park using solar technology. The new technology, designed by James Ramsey, involves the use of a “remote skylight” that collects sunlight and reflects it throughout the underground space, allowing plants and trees to grow. The Lowline will be opened to the public in 2020.


Otherwise known as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Tower, 53W53 began construction last year and is due to be complete in 2018. Designed by French architect, Jean Nouvel, the skyscraper is expected to contain 82 stories within its angular exoskeleton, reaching a whopping 1,050 feet. Tipped as one of the most exciting additions to the New York skyline this decade, 53W53 will be located on 53 West 53rd Street and will hold 145 luxury condos and new gallery space for the MoMA. However, with the building racking up a $1.3 billion price tag, the new apartments probably won’t come cheap.

Hudson Yards

The regeneration plan for the Hudson Yards is the largest private real estate development ever to occur in the US. The new plans include over 17 million square feet of commercial and residential space, featuring 14 acres of public parks, ultra-modern office towers, shops, restaurants and around 5,000 residences, as well as a public school, a luxury hotel and even cultural spaces. Costing around $15 billion, the development will create over 23,000 construction jobs during the course of the project and has an estimated completion date of 2024.  

East Midtown Waterfront

The East Midtown Waterfront project will provide a much needed facelift to the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway between East 38th Street and East 60th Street. The plans will improve connectivity to the East River by enhancing bicycle and pedestrian access and provide multiple waterfront public amenities. The construction of the new public area, including two esplanades and a pier, is expected to be completed by 2025 and will provide more resources for the local community.

St. George Waterfront

Another riverside rejuvenation project, St. George Waterfront will be transformed by the end of 2017. Located on Staten Island, the plans involve a new retail complex and hotel to be constructed adjacent to Richmond County Bank Ballpark, as well as a controversial 630 feet tall New York Wheel. The new wheel will be tallest in world and is expected to attract an estimated 4.5 million visitors per year. After the site has been developed, it will also create 1,300 new permanent jobs.

Find out more about architecture student trips

If you’d like to organise an architecture trip to New York for your college or university students, or would like to hear about other available architecture tours for colleges and universitiesget in touch with one of our specialist travel advisers.