David H. Koch Plaza at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

OLIN: Along the length of the landmarked Fifth Avenue façade, OLIN’s design for The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s four-block-long plaza enhances one of New York City’s most significant public gathering spaces. OLIN led the design to prioritize the pedestrian experience and create a welcoming urban destination with fountains, trees, seating, and kiosks for refreshments and museum information. A hierarchy of energy-efficient and diffused light on the fountains, plantings, grand stairs and façade enhance the evening ambiance of the plaza. A new pair of contemporary granite fountains operates year-round by utilizing an innovative steam-recycling circulation system. They are positioned closer to the grand stairs, improving access to the plaza’s street-level public entrances and creating an energized connection between people sitting on the steps and those at the fountains.

Ornamental beds of shrubs and herbaceous flowers reference plantings seen in early-to-mid-20th century photographs and drawings. Trees with limited lifespans have been replaced with a formal allée of aerial hedges—in all, the plaza includes approximately 100 new trees, more than doubling the previous number. Increased shade creates a more comfortable environment, reducing the surface temperature of paving by as much as 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, a suspended paving system allows for extensive subsurface tree pits to collect and utilize on-site stormwater that would otherwise burden the city’s infrastructure. Excess stormwater not captured by tree pits or planting areas is collected and held in underground retention areas, and slowly released into the city’s stormwater system. On average, the projected annual stormwater reduction per tree will be 845 to 1,390 gallons.

Project Name: David H. Koch Plaza at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Location: New York City, New York, USA
Lead Design Firm: OLIN – landscape architecture
Completed: 2014

Consultants:
Fluidity Design Consultants – water feature design
L’Observatoire International – lighting design
Spatial Affairs Bureau (formerly Rick Mather USA) – parasols, stone benches, new guard booths
Gorton & Associates – project and cost management
Sam Schwartz Engineering – vehicular and pedestrian traffic flow plan
Kohler Ronan – MEP, fire protection engineering
WJE Engineers & Architects, P.C. – building façade consulting
Langan Engineering and Environmental Services – civil, geotech, traffic, surveying
AKRF – environmental consulting
Jacobs | Doland – food service operations
Robert Silman Associates, Inc. – structural engineer
Northern Designs – irrigation
Milrose Consultants Inc. – code consultant, permitting
Urban Arborists – arborist
Urban Trees & Soils – soils consulting
Entro – signage design
RCDolner – general contractor

Text Credit: OLIN / The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Image Credits: All images © OLIN / Sahar Coston-Hardy

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