The Metropolitan Museum’s Fifth Avenue Plaza and Fountains are going to get a re-do. OLIN, a leading landscape architecture, urban design and planning studio, was chosen for the project. The plans were unveiled at a presentation at the Museum on February 7, 2012. Once all the necessary approvals for the project are in place, construction should begin by fall 2012 and should be completed by fall 2014.
“It’s quite an honor to work on the redesign of such an important civic space in front of one the world’s most prestigious art museums in one of the world’s greatest cities,” says OLIN partner Dennis McGlade. “The caliber of the design discourse with the client group was at the highest level regarding aesthetics and the concern for visitor comfort and safety.”
OLIN’s plan calls for the comprehensive redesign of the four-block long outdoor plaza that runs in front of the Museum’s Fifth Avenue façade from 80-84th Streets while keeping the Museum’s iconic front steps intact. 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 a new pavement of North American granite, 100 new trees including large Little Leaf Linden allées for shade (in place of the current London Plane trees that have limited lifespans and low environmental benefits due to their planting conditions), bosques of trees planted at 45 degree angles to guide pedestrians toward the doorways, and permanent and temporary seating areas, along with 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.