New York, NY


One Penn Plaza

The redesign of a midtown pocket park was a public/private partnership venture by a hospitality group, the property owner and the New York City Department of City Planning. The purpose of the project was to enliven the public space by inserting cafes while improving public amenities including new seating, food kiosks, site lighting, plantings and public art.

The space is built over a multistory underground garage and is, therefore, essentially a roof condition. A condition of the building owner was that none of the existing paving be disturbed. As a result, the design became an assemblage of planes superimposed onto the existing surfaces. The design created was a central platform with perimeter ramps where the central café is located. The platform creating the plaza preserves the large existing planter beneath allowing new trees to grow from openings in the new surface. A landscape art installation, “Sylvan”, is centrally placed and is conceived as a literal distortion of the wood floor surface.

The space – a “privately-owned public space” is under the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of City Planning. Accordingly, the project underwent a process of public approvals, including review and approval by the New York City Planning Commission and Manhattan Community Board 5.

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Status: Built
Location: New York, NY, US