Metropolitan Museum of Art
Vaux and Mould; R.M. Hunt, and McKim, Mead, and White
Individual and Interior Landmark
1000 Fifth Avenue is a Beaux-Arts and Roman style museum, built in 1864-1965 and designed by Vaux and Mould; R.M. Hunt; McKim, Mead, and White; and others, within an English Romantic style public park, designed in 1856 by Olmsted and Vaux. Application is to redesign the plaza, including replacing fountains, paving, and plantings.
CB8 Hearing: 02/15/12 (Approved in part)
LPC Hearing: 02/21/12 (Approved)
Other projects: February 9, 2021
The Preservation Committee at FRIENDS found many aspects of this proposal to be positive, including the new fountains, the paving, the bosques of trees, the foundation plantings, the security booths, and the site furnishings. In particular, the new façade lighting scheme is commendable and will impart a sense of grandeur to the museum in the evening hours.
However, our Committee was adamantly opposed to the placement of “semi-permanent” kiosks in the plaza. Although these kiosks are described as removable structures, we anticipate that they will remain in place for the better part of the year and thus will read as permanent fixtures. Meanwhile, the aerial hedges create another problem. The proposed configuration will create an 18-foot wall of greenery that blocks significant architectural features of the McKim Mead & White wings. As a precedent for this, the applicant has cited a 1905 master plan drawing, but in this historic elevation the trees do not cover the façade and are staggered in an offset pattern. Our committee is not opposed to a formalized allée of trees in these locations but perhaps the allées would not be so obtrusive if each hedge were shorter, spaced in a segmented rhythm, and more visually permeable.
While this plaza redesign is a great step towards reinvigorating the entrance to one of our city’s greatest landmarks, our committee asks that the Commission work with the applicant to modify these elements of the proposal for a more appropriate design.