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Met Museum’s Modern plaza at risk of redo—Hearing February 21

February 18, 2012

Only days after the Museum of the City of New York’s exhibition on Kevin Roche’s work in New York closed, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced plans to erase most of Roche’s 1970 entrance plaza on Fifth Avenue, which inaugurated Roche’s 40-plus-year reconfiguration of the Museum’s physical plant and rejuvenation of its public image.

While Roche’s three-sided entrance stairs are to remain, the proposed new design by landscape architect OLIN includes repaving of the plaza with granite and filling much of the space with two new fountains, two kiosks, new trees, shrubs, benches, parasols and movable seating. Apparently landscape architects, like nature, abhor a vacuum. A description of the proposed new plaza was published in the New York Times February 7.

DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State, along with other preservation organizations, is reviewing the Met’s proposal and will have the opportunity to comment at a February 21 public hearing of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, whose recommendations are advisory but not binding, as the property is city-owned. Testimony by interested individuals is welcome. Visit the LPC website for details.

Metropolitan Museum of Art plaza, c. 1970.
Photo courtesy: KRJDA
Plaza model, Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates, 1970.
image: Ezra Stoller © esto.