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News February 2012

Update: Met plaza redesign sails through LPC

February 26, 2012

DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State testified at the February 21 Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing that any modifications to Kevin Roche’s 1970 plaza at the Metropolitan Museum of Art should remain consistent with the underlying principles of that design—maintaining unobstructed access to, and view of, the monumental steps as well as the side entrances. Read testimony

The Historic Districts Council, Society for the Architecture of the City, and Theodore Gruenwald also testified in favor of restoring the existing plaza and enhancing it with movable furniture rather than replacing it with a new design.

The New York Landmarks Conservancy and Friends of the Upper East Side expressed reservations about the dense “aerial hedges” in front of the end pavilions, as well as the semi-permanent kiosks, but were otherwise supportive. Community Board 8 previously voted to support all elements of the redesign except the furniture.

Several of the Commissioners also expressed reservations about the aerial hedges, though these concerns were not included in Chair Tierney’s resolution of approval. Some also questioned the parasols and the design of the kiosks, concerns that did generate minor caveats in Tierney’s resolution.

One Commissioner expressed concern that the proposed design was too crowded, with too many elements filling up the space. He regretted the loss of the current fountains, which help to unify the space. Nevertheless, he joined the unanimous vote in favor of the resolution of approval—which is advisory, as the plaza is technically part of the Central Park Scenic Landmark, not of the Individual Landmark museum building.

The next step is review by the Public Design (formerly Art) Commission in a hearing on March 12—the outcome of which is expected to be similar.