The public garden and revitalization of The Olayan Group’s 550 Madison, a postmodern building originally designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee, has recently received final and unanimous approval from the City Planning Commission.
The Snøhetta-designed project will be located at the rear of the building and re-envisions the the public space as an expanded, densely vegetated garden. The transformation draws on the architectural heritage of the area, the activity of the neighborhood, and the natural history of the region. The privately-owned public space hopes to invite people to slow down and connect to one another and their surroundings.
“Privately-owned public spaces are a critical part of New York City’s public realm. Urban life thrives in and around spaces that allow us to connect with one another and to nature,” said Michelle Delk, Partner and Director of Landscape Architecture, Snøhetta, in a release.
The new space will be approximately 21,000 sf and include around 50 newly planted trees and a wide variety of other plants such as annuals, perennials, and evergreens. The space will also include seating options, public bathrooms, and bike racks.
The garden will connect to the building’s lobby, which Gensler is currently in the process of redesigning.