Metropolitan Museum of Art to revamp outdoor plaza

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has revealed plans for a multimillion-dollar four-block-long outdoor plaza makeover.

The project has been designed by urban design firm OLIN. It will cost approximately $60 million.

The plaza in front of the facility's Fifth Avenue façade is to phase out its fountains, developed in the 1970s, to incorporate new fountains closer to the front steps of the museum. A pair of granite fountains, designed by the Fluidity Design Consultants, would be operational year-round. Each fountain would be a square form inset with a circular stone dome, with seating on long stone benches placed adjacent to the edges of the pools. These new fountains will be operational throughout the year, and will be run with warm water produced by recycling steam to avoid freezing during winter.

Also to be upgraded is the access to street-level entryways at 81st and 83rd streets. At the far north and south ends of the wings by McKim, Mead, and White, two allées of Little Leaf Linden trees would be planted. There will also be creation of a new shaded walkway featuring 100 pollarded London Plane trees. Within the central plaza, pairs of bosques of trees would similarly be planted, flanking the 81st and 83rd Street entrances.


The remodeled plaza will also be equipped with new seating facilities, including movable chairs.

With the renovations, new lighting fixture will be installed. To be changed are the floodlights, with redesigned LED lighting to be mounted on the Museum’s façade and the plaza itself, expected to enhance the sculptural nature of the building.

Furthermore, kiosks for the museum’s use will be installed during the refurbishment.

The project will be financed by industrialist David Koch, a trustee of the museum. Construction is set to commence by the end of 2012 following public approval. The project is expected end after 23 months.

Led by Partner Dennis McGlade , the OLIN team collaborated with a number of consultants for the project, including: Gorton & Associates for project and cost management; Fluidity Design Consultants for water feature design; L’Observatoire International for lighting design; Rick Mather USA Inc. with Spatial Affairs Bureau for kiosk and site furnishings design; and Sam Schwartz Engineering for the vehicular and pedestrian traffic flow plan.

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