Launch Slideshow

Lincoln Center Plaza, New York

Lincoln Center Plaza, New York

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    Patrons are bathed in warm, sparkling light at the curb drop-off. Vehicles are guided under the stairs by luminous glass walls to the right and the left. Two 80-foot-tall stainless-steel poles rise from the lowest level, housing 16 metal halide framing projectors that provide general lighting for the grand stair.
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    Glass canopies appear to glow from within as they flank the new grand entry stairs.
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    The New York State Theater is a glowing backdrop behind the central fountain with column uplights that invite patrons inside.
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    The circular, black-granite bench appears to float above the water.
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    The underside of the bench is a bead-blasted, stainless finish illuminated with custom underwater LED striplights carefully shielded with a custom, radial black frit on the glass lens above.
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    The Metropolitan Opera building’s façade is grazed with 20W metal halide uplights, and provides a backdrop to the tree bosque. The tree canopies are uplit while a continuous line of LEDs creates a floating effect for the flanking benches.
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    The lawn is “moonlit” with eight 150W metal halide spotlights from the roof of a nearby building. The lifted plane in the foreground floats above the plaza with a grid of custom LED downlights illuminating the drive and parking garage below.
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    The lawn hovers over the North plaza and reflecting pool.
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    The downlights and coffer uplighting at the Vivian Beaumont Theater reflect into the pool and illuminate the eastern edge of the outdoor “room."
 

Lincoln Center has long been one of New York City's—and the world's—great cultural destinations for music, theater, and dance. The complex of buildings and outdoor spaces was a product of its time when constructed in the 1960s, and the design turned itself inward rather than completely engaging with the surrounding city. But that has changed with a new comprehensive master plan that has touched every part of the complex in general and reinvigorated the outdoor spaces in particular. Using a series of new architectural elements, including canopies, water features, outdoor seating, and new planting areas, the public is invited into the campus regardless of whether one is attending a performance or not.

The most striking revision is in front of the Vivian Beaumont Theater, with its Illumination Lawn, a sloping green space that is, in fact, the roof of the building that houses a restaurant, the Film Center, and Lincoln Center's offices. Here, public space is reinvented, and even more so at night when it is “moonlit” with eight 150W metal halide spotlights located on the roof of a nearby building. As with all of the new interventions, lighting is that extra something that gives the space a heightened sense of drama as staged and unscripted performances play out.

Jury Comments: Each lighting “move” stitches the center's buildings and outdoor spaces together, and back to the city. • Lighting becomes a placemaking device while respecting the existing architecture.