About the Lowline Lab

The Lowline Lab was a long-term open laboratory and technical exhibit designed to test and showcase how the Lowline will grow and sustain plants underground. Built inside an abandoned market on the Lower East Side, just two blocks from the site of the proposed future Lowline, the Lowline Lab included a series of controlled experiments in an environment mimicking the actual Lowline site.

From October 2015 through February 26 2017, we showcased our solar technology and the potential of new, year-round public spaces to over 100,000 visitors at our location at 140 Essex Street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The Lab was free and open to the public every Saturday and Sunday.



    Photo by Philip Lange

    Bringing Sunlight Underground

    Co-Founder James Ramsey, his team at Raad Studio, and Korea-based technology company Sunportal designed and installed optical devices which track the sun throughout the sky every minute of every day, optimizing the amount of natural sunlight we were able to capture. The sunlight was then distributed into the warehouse through a series of protective tubes, directing full spectrum light into a central distribution point. A solar canopy, designed and constructed by engineer Ed Jacobs, then spread out the sunlight across the space, modulating and tempering the sunlight, providing light critical to sustain the plant life below.

    Growing Plants
    The Lowline Lab landscape, designed by Signe Nielsen of Mathews Nielsen and built by John Mini Distinctive Landscapes, was composed of over 3,000 plants and dozens of unique varieties, spread across 1,000 square feet. The Lab gave us the opportunity to study plant life in the same type of environment as the future Lowline, which helped us determine which types of plants will grow best underground.
    Lab Community

    The Lab was not only a testing site, but a community and cultural space. During the weekdays, we expanded our Young Designers Program to include educational sessions at the Lowline Lab, bringing nearly 3,000 kids into the space to learn all about the science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) behind the Lowline. In October 2016 through the end of February 2017, the Lab served as a youth mentorship and job training site for 16 Young Ambassadors. And throughout the Lab’s run, our weekend programs were open to an intergenerational audience, inspiring people of all ages and backgrounds to study and understand the transformative power of innovation.

    Sponsors + Partners
    The Lowline is proud and grateful for the support of the following sponsors and partners:

    For more information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact info@thelowline.org