Snøhetta’s 550 Madison Garden gets approval

New York, NY – Snøhetta’s design for the public garden and revitalization of 550 Madison Garden received final and unanimous approval from the City Planning Commission this week.

The design re-envisions the building’s public space as a generously expanded, densely vegetated garden. As a vibrant sensory retreat, its transformation draws upon the architectural heritage, the activity of the neighbourhood, and the natural history of the region.

“Privately-owned public spaces are a critical part of New York City’s public realm. Urban life thrives in and around spaces that allow us to connect with one another and to nature,” said Michelle Delk, Partner and Director of Landscape Architecture at Snøhetta. “Moreover, we need to make the most of the spaces we already have and recognize that they are part of a network that contribute to the livelihood of the city. We’re thrilled to be a part of renewing the future of this historic site.”

The new garden will open up the public space along the west end of the tower, transforming it into a series of interconnected outdoor ‘rooms’ that provide both quiet spaces and larger, more open areas.

Partially covered by a new glass canopy and formed by a series of intersecting circles in plan. These circular rooms invite passers by to linger as they meander through, allowing the garden to accommodate a variety of experiences for its visitors.

Conceptually, the landscape responds to the canyon-like verticality of Midtown Manhattan, with a verdant, layered topography that lifts up along the west side of the garden, both minimizing the impact of existing tower service infrastructure while providing a sense of being immersed in the garden.

For 30 years, Snøhetta has designed some of the world’s most notable public and cultural projects. Snøhetta kick-started its career in 1989 with the competition-winning entry for the new library of Alexandria, Egypt. This was later followed by the commission for the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo, the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion at the World Trade Center in New York City, and the redesign of the public space in Times Square, among many others. Since its inception, the practice has maintained its original trans-disciplinary approach, integrating architectural, landscape and interior design in all of its projects.

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