Breuer Building MET, New York
Once the iconic home of the Whitney Museum on Madison Avenue / 57th Street, the Breuer Building found new life and now houses artworks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The entrance to the modernist building is accessed via a bridge that crosses a courtyard 4.5 metres below. This courtyard has been transformed into a publicly accessible space, making it part of the city. It is just off Madison Avenue and yet feels like a space of its own. Since the courtyard has to accommodate large events, most of it was left open and flexible. The long back wall was transformed from what was once a flat and monotonous surface into a condensed and changing experience. Building up the existing planters made it possible to plant the Quaking Aspens (Populus Tremuloides) in their full size. Their bark is smooth and pale. Their leaves shimmer and rattle in the wind, creating a soothing sound in the otherwise laterally enclosed space beneath the noisy streets of Manhattan. The treetops are just visible from the street level, marking a curious new urban level to the pavement, and drawing the visitor in.