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.