Metropolitan Museum of Art reveals Fifth Avenue plaza design by OLIN

OLIN's design for Metropolitan Museum of Art Fifth Avenue Plaza revealed

Fifth Avenue Steps looking South © OLIN

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has unveiled OLIN’s designs for the four-block-long outdoor plaza that runs in front of its landmark Fifth Avenue façade, from 80th to 84th Streets in Manhattan.

The plan also calls for the creation of new fountains—to replace the deteriorating ones that have been in use since they were built in the 1970s along with the existing plaza. The fountains will be positioned closer to the Museum’s front steps, improving access to its street-level public entrances at 81st and 83rd Streets. The renovated plaza will also feature tree-shaded allées (in place of the current trees that have limited lifespans and low environmental benefits due to their planting conditions), permanent and temporary seating areas, and entirely new, energy-efficient and diffused nighttime lighting. Seasonal planting will be added along the building to provide color and visual interest throughout the year. All of these new features respect and complement the architectural highlights of the landmark façade and the monumental, recently refurbished central stairs. OLIN, the landscape architecture, urban design, and planning firm, has been retained by the Museum as the lead design consultant for the project.
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OLIN selected to lead redesign of the Met’s Fifth Avenue Outdoor Plaza

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York announced yesterday that it had selected OLIN to lead a comprehensive, multi-year effort to redesign and rebuild the four-block-long outdoor plaza that fronts its landmark Fifth Avenue façade. The project will feature as one of its centerpiece elements the design and installation of all-new fountains outside the museum building.

The selection of OLIN comes after a search process that involved a review of more than 30 leading landscape and building architects from around the world. The international search was conducted by a special committee of the Museum’s Board of Trustees chaired by Daniel Brodsky, who is also Vice Chairman of the Trustee Buildings Committee.

OLIN will lead a comprehensive project to re-conceive the entire plaza space, including its fountains and accompanying plantings, all of which were installed in their present form four decades ago in 1970. The uses of the plaza have changed over the years—vehicles, for example, are no longer allowed to drive around the fountains—suggesting the need for a new design program. The existing fountains, long dormant, were recently rehabilitated and currently function, but the repairs did not address long-term issues and are only temporary.

The project will require considerable advance planning, design work, and formal approvals from community and citywide agencies. At this early stage in the design process, the Museum has not yet developed a construction schedule but, pending all approvals, hopes that construction will take around two years and be completed by 2015.

SOURCE: Metropolitan Museum of Art