Snøhetta’s design for the public garden and revitalization of 550 Madison Garden received final and unanimous approval from the New York City Planning Commission, following the approval from Manhattan Community Board 5 in December.
Originally built in 1984 for single-tenant occupancy, the interior renovation and reimagined public space will renew the landmark as a state-of-the-art office tower, and seeks to provide a sustainable model for historic and adaptive reuse.
The 78,968-m2 (850,000-sf) building features 4-m (14-ft) high ceilings and large, column-free floor plates.
The new design re-envisions the building’s public space as an expanded, densely vegetated garden. Its transformation draws on the architectural heritage, the activity of the neighborhood, and the natural history of the region.
The new garden will open up the public space along the west end of the tower, transforming it into a series of interconnected outdoor ‘rooms’ that provide both quiet spaces and larger, more open areas. Partially covered by a new glass canopy and formed by a series of intersecting circles in plan, the geometry of these rooms takes cues from Philip Johnson’s (the original designer) playful use of circular motifs.
Conceptually, the landscape responds to the canyon-like verticality of Midtown Manhattan, with a verdant, layered topography that lifts up along the west side of the garden, both minimizing the impact of existing tower service infrastructure while providing a sense of being immersed in the garden.
The 550 Madison building will open this year as a multi-tenant facility, and will be the only Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum and WELL Gold certified building in the Plaza District.