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.
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.
After an extensive public dialogue on its original design and performance, the City of Denver decided on a redesign of Skyline Park, downtown Denver’s only public open spaces. The three-block-long, three-acre, linear park is at the center of downtown Denver and is bisected by the 16th Street Mall, a lively pedestrian space that connects many of Denver’s attrac...
Ferry Point Waterfront Park
Since the closing of a city-owned landfill in 1963, the site’s transformation into Ferry Point Waterfront Park has been a long, complex process. The new Ferry Point Waterfront Park will be a long linear eastern ecological extension of the previously built and conventionally programmed western Ferry Point Park. Part of a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, this...
51 Astor Place
At the locus of two famous NYC neighborhoods, East Village and Greenwich Village, this new corner plaza takes full advantage of the vibrant urban life generated by nearby NYU and historic Cooper Union across the street. With a strong architectural alignment of banquette seating, this plaza benefits from its urban context by carefully staging the cherished NYC ...