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Lincoln Center Unveils Design for Renovated Plaza

By Vivien Schweitzer
12 Jun 2006

An architectural rendering of the new Columbus Avenue approach to Lincoln Center.
photo by Diller Scofidio + Renfro/FXFowle

Serenaded by a brass band playing Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg today broke ground for Lincoln Center’s much-anticipated redevelopment on what he called "a wonderful day for New York."

Katherine Farley, chairman of the Lincoln Center Development Project and architect Elizabeth Diller, of Diller Scoridio + Renfro unveiled designs for various components of the extensive redesign.

Diller said that Lincoln Center deserved a distinguished façade like other New York institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum. At present, visitors must dash across multiple lanes of traffic then cross another two lanes of vehicles dropping people off. Conceptual drawings show a spruced up entrance with landscaped grassy areas, featuring an elegant marble staircase crossing over a submerged road and a glass canopied ramp for disabled access.

Constituent groups lobbied for the 42-year-old fountain, a Lincoln Center landmark, to be kept untouched; the redesign simply updates the seating area around the fountain to resemble a floating granite ring.

The West 65th Street Project, created by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and FX Fowle Architects, aims to create a vibrant "Street of the Arts." A lightweight steel and glass footbridge will cross West 65th Street and link the Julliard School with the main plaza. Designs call for the school’s main lobby to be framed by a glass-enclosed street level entrance to make the lobby more appealing.

Alice Tully Hall will also be modernized with a multi-story glass-enclosed grand foyer; the hall itself will also be renovated.

The bleak North Plaza will be rejuvenated with a tree-lined promenade with seating areas. Drawings show a contoured and elevated expanse of lawn, nicknamed the "campus green," atop a new glass-walled restaurant.

Construction is scheduled to be completed by 2009, when the center celebrates its 50th anniversary. It was also announced today that the firms of California-based Morphosis and New York-based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects have been selected as finalists to redesign the Harmony Atrium on 62nd Street.

Frank A. Bennack Jr., Lincoln Center chairman, said that Lincoln Center has raised $339 million, or 75 percent, of the $459 million it will contribute to the estimated $650 million cost of the West 65th Street redevelopment.

The funds include a mix of private and public funds, including up to $90 million from the City of New York. “The city is deeply committed to supporting culture, which drives our economy and feeds our spirit,” said Bloomberg.


An aerial view of Lincoln Center, showing the proposed redevelopment.
photo by Diller Scofidio + Renfro/FXFowle




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