New York Times website : 2009
Describing it as a “front porch” for Lincoln Center, the architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have redesigned Harmony Atrium between West 62nd and 63rd Streets as a “theatrical garden” featuring 20-foot-high walls of plants and rods of falling water.
The goal is to transform the space, now an underused pass-through from Broadway to Columbus Avenue, into a 7,000-square-foot round-the-clock gathering place and a gateway to Lincoln Center’s performing arts campus.
People could sit and have a sandwich, attend free weekly performances or buy same-day discounted tickets, officials say. Lincoln Center hopes to complete the new $22 million atrium by the fall of 2009, in time for its 50th-anniversary celebrations.
Because the atrium, now closed, formerly had a climbing wall, the architects said they set out to incorporate the spirit of the outdoors. “We wanted to put something in that has some abstract relationship to landscape,” Ms. Tsien said. “The primary use will feel like a kind of oasis.”
There will be benches in a green moss color, suggesting islands; stone floors, echoing Lincoln Center’s dominant travertine; and water that courses through vertical tubes in a homage, Mr. Williams said, to the center’s signature fountain.
The atrium’s ceiling will have 16 intersecting openings — or “occuli,” as the architects say — that let in natural light and project artificial light. “They’re like very large celestial lanterns that will connect you to the outside and take you from one end to the other,” Mr. Williams said.
The two plant walls are to consist of ferns, bromeliads, moss and flowering vines. “You’ll really have a sense of the oxygen they give out,” he said.
A removable stage will enable Lincoln Center to use the space for social dancing and for free weekly performances, often by the center’s constituent groups, which include the Metropolitan Opera, the Juilliard School and Jazz at Lincoln Center.
The visitors’ center will also feature a media wall, designed in collaboration with Pentagram and Show & Tell Productions, for the screening of multimedia projects, historic archival footage and performance schedules. There will be a staffed information desk, public restrooms, free Internet access and a cafe managed by Rosa Mexicano.
Across from the visitors’ center and adjacent to the New York State Theater will be a new “micro-park” designed by Diller Scofidio & Renfro in association with the firm Beyer Blinder Belle. Plans for this urban grove at 62nd Street, at the southeast portion of Lincoln Center’s campus, are to be unveiled on Thursday along with the design for Harmony Atrium.
Source : Nytimes.com