- Inhabitat New York City - http://inhabitat.com/nyc -

Louis I. Kahn’s FDR Four Freedoms Park Opens to the Public Today

Posted By Yuka Yoneda On October 24, 2012 @ 9:20 am In Architecture,Green Space,Manhattan,Parks | No Comments

FDR, four freedoms, Four Freedoms Park, Franklin D Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, green design, green NYC, green space nyc, louis i kahn, Louis Kahn, nyc, nyc parks, park nyc, parks in nyc, Roosevelt, sustainable designThis FDR head was one of the first things we saw last Wednesday, but was just a decoy. The real thing is now in its rightful place towards the “helm” of the park.

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park [7] was the final design Louis I. Kahn worked on before he died suddenly of a heart attack in the bathroom of Penn Station in 1974. The park is also Kahn’s only work in New York City and the only memorial dedicated to FDR in his home state of New York. For more of the park’s history, which is really quite fascinating, please read our previous posts about it [8].

FDR, four freedoms, Four Freedoms Park, Franklin D Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, green design, green NYC, green space nyc, louis i kahn, Louis Kahn, nyc, nyc parks, park nyc, parks in nyc, Roosevelt, sustainable designOne of Kahn’s original sketches of the park courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

Though seemingly simple in its design, the park, which sits at the southernmost tip of Roosevelt Island, has received acclaim from some of the city’s toughest architecture critics [9], and after a visit last week, we were really able to see why many are calling it NYC’s “new spiritual heart.” After meandering across Roosevelt Island, we made our way past the dilapidated and overgrown Renwick Ruin Smallpox Hospital [10] when we finally saw it – a massive granite staircase that seemed to lead up to the sky.

FDR, four freedoms, Four Freedoms Park, Franklin D Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, green design, green NYC, green space nyc, louis i kahn, Louis Kahn, nyc, nyc parks, park nyc, parks in nyc, Roosevelt, sustainable design

Upon actually climbing the stairway, we saw that it opened up to an immaculate lawn that stretches almost too far to see what is at the end. But we already knew what was there (only because we’d seen renderings of it), and it took a large portion of self-restraint to keep from running down the center of the grass and doing cartwheels on our way to see it. The park’s location and shape give visitors the empowering, energizing sensation of being on a ship that is headed somewhere important and adventurous.

FDR, four freedoms, Four Freedoms Park, Franklin D Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, green design, green NYC, green space nyc, louis i kahn, Louis Kahn, nyc, nyc parks, park nyc, parks in nyc, Roosevelt, sustainable designInside the “Room,” a meditative space at the end of the park which was inspired by FDR’s belief that any problem between individuals or nations could be solved by them sitting together to discuss things peacefully as around the family dining room table.

FDR, four freedoms, Four Freedoms Park, Franklin D Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, green design, green NYC, green space nyc, louis i kahn, Louis Kahn, nyc, nyc parks, park nyc, parks in nyc, Roosevelt, sustainable designKahn’s vision was to set the giant 6′ x 6′ x 12′ granite stones that make up the Room just 1″ apart from one another, and the park’s builders were able to achieve this ambitious goal.

“Memorials take time,” William vanden Heuvel [11], a former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. and the founder of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute that revived the Four Freedoms Park project, told us last week. “Lincoln died in 1865 and his memorial was completed in 1922, so we’re ahead of the game.”

FDR, four freedoms, Four Freedoms Park, Franklin D Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, green design, green NYC, green space nyc, louis i kahn, Louis Kahn, nyc, nyc parks, park nyc, parks in nyc, Roosevelt, sustainable designThe park’s “riprap” (a rock barrier that armors the edge of an island) was set by hand and is made up of 11,000 cubic yards of hand-placed granite gneiss, 65% of which was recycled from the site.

After today, the park will be open on Thursday-Sunday from 9am-5pm. If you need directions to Four Freedoms Park, here they are [12].

For more views and observations from inside the park, please click through our photo gallery [6].

+ FDR Four Freedoms Park [13]

+ Louis I. Kahn [14]

Photos © Yuka Yoneda [15], except where noted.


Article printed from Inhabitat New York City: http://inhabitat.com/nyc

URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/sneak-peek-louis-i-kahns-fdr-four-freedoms-park-may-or-may-not-open-tomorrow-on-roosevelt-island/

URLs in this post:

[1] Share on Tumblr: http://www.tumblr.com/share

[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://inhabitat.com/nyc/sneak-peek-louis-i-kahns-fdr-four-freedoms-park-may-or-may-not-open-tomorrow-on-roosevelt-island/

[3]

: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/sneak-peek-louis-i-kahns-fdr-four-freedoms-park-may-or-may-not-open-tomorrow-on-roosevelt-island/four-freedoms-park-warchol/?extend=1

[4]  : http://inhabitat.com/nyc/sneak-peek-louis-i-kahns-fdr-four-freedoms-park-may-or-may-not-open-tomorrow-on-roosevelt-island/fdr_louis-kahn-iconic-sketc/?extend=1

[5] FDR Four Freedoms Park: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/photos-louis-i-kahns-four-freedoms-park-nears-completion-on-roosevelt-island/

[6] sneak peek photos: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/sneak-peek-louis-i-kahns-fdr-four-freedoms-park-may-or-may-not-open-tomorrow-on-roosevelt-island/fdr_louis-kahn-iconic-sketc/

[7] Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park: http://www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org/pages/about-the-park

[8] previous posts about it: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/index.php?s=four+freedoms+park

[9] acclaim from some of the city’s toughest architecture critics: http://www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org/news/entry/new-york-times-tours-park

[10] Renwick Ruin Smallpox Hospital: http://www.rihs.us/landmarks/renwick.html

[11] William vanden Heuvel: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_vanden_Heuvel

[12] here they are: http://www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org/pages/planning-your-visit

[13] + FDR Four Freedoms Park: http://www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org/home

[14] + Louis I. Kahn: http://designmuseum.org/design/louis-kahn

[15] Yuka Yoneda: http://clossette.com/about-yuka-yoneda/

Copyright © 2011 Inhabitat Local - New York. All rights reserved.