The Metropolitan Museum of Art's new David H. Koch Plaza is officially open to the public following a major two-year redesign and reconstruction. The massive outdoor space—which runs along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan for four city blocks, the length of the Museum's landmark facade—now features completely new fountains, paving, and facade lighting, along with allées and bosques of trees leading to the Museum's entrances from north and south, and seating areas for visitors.
Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Museum, said: "Finally, more than a century after the completion of the Met's grand Fifth Avenue facade, and more than forty years after its last plaza renovation, the Museum has created a truly welcoming point of entry, a cityscape that is environmentally friendly and that will please our visitors as they come to experience the unparalleled breadth of masterpieces on display inside. Rather than finding the complexity of the project daunting—from the hauling of granite for new fountains and paving stones, to the planting of trees and the installation of hundreds of LED lights, on an area roughly the equivalent size of three football fields—David Koch recognized its significance, embraced it, and made it happen."
The renovation encompasses the entire 1,021-foot-long, 70,706-square foot plaza. The granite for the fountains were quarried in Le Granit, Canada, and for the paving stones in Deer Isle, Maine. 62,935 cubic feet of soil were installed and 106 trees planted, doubling the number of trees on the plaza and providing 17,600 square feet of shade. Forty percent of the total area will now be shaded by the trees and by a row of large parasols that have been installed along the length of the plaza. Each of the two new fountains holds 21,000 gallons of water and has 48 jets that can be programmed for varying water displays. The equivalent of 2,130 linear feet of LED fixtures have been mounted to light the facade, with each LED bulb expected to last for 50,000 hours.