Stretching along nine blocks of New York City’s Upper East Side, Rockefeller University is a world-renowned medical research institution with an impressive roster of Nobel Prize winners — and beautiful river views. Once a harmonious urban oasis of 19th century buildings and 20th century modernism stitched together by a renowned Dan Kiley landscape, the campus was brutalized in the 1970s by the erection of three towers that resulted in a series of leftover and barren voids in the most active zone of the campus.
To remedy this plight, the University sponsored an invited competition that Thomas Balsley Associates won with this crisp yet contemplative design, a respectful update of the iconic allees and white marble paths of Dan Kiley. The designers resolved the disparate geometries, staggered topography, and programmatic requirements with one strong, simple move: a circular ginkgo grove and its concentric fountain — a low wall slotted with cooling waterspouts — around which the other spaces revolve.
These other spaces become multi-level outdoor rooms offering varying degrees of intimacy, from a quiet garden bench to a large, open performance lawn. The character of each space is defined by a rich palette of paving, planting, and furniture: robust planters and walls of Ashlar stone. Custom-designed circular metal “Vortex” shade sculptures divert attention from the ‘70s towers and provide shelter for a new river overlook terrace. For its precision, thoughtful details, and clean, crisp lines, the plaza takes its cue from a Swiss watch.
Culver Steps and Main Plaza
Founder Harry Culver’s renowned axiom, “All roads lead to Culver City,” acquires new meaning with a spectacular addition to ongoing downtown revitalization. The Culver Steps is a public/private collaboration between The City of Culver City and Hackman Capital Partners devised to highlight the city’s creative “maker tradition,” from its involvement in the filmm...
33 Beekman Street Plaza is a public plaza that also serves as the front entrance to a new 30-story Pace University Dormitory, located in the financial district. The contemporary plaza appearance synchronizes with the contemporary plaza of Frank Gehry’s high-rise residential tower across Beekman Street to South.
Capitol Plaza is located in the lively neighborhood of Chelsea Heights amid weekend antiques markets, art galleries, hip hop stores, design studios, residential towers, and Flower District shops. This narrow swath cuts through a block just east of Sixth Avenue and is one of dozens throughout the densest portions of Manhattan that bring a moment of respite and ...
Grand Candela Memorial
The “Grand Candela” commemorates the victims and survivors of the August 2019 mass shooting tragedy at Walmart’s Cielo Vista store. Inspired by the motif of an everlasting candle and set in a plaza within the store’s parking lot, the memorial offers a dedicated place of healing and remembrance. Twenty-two columns of perforated metal, one for each life lost, ar...