The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced that it will completely redesign the four-block-long outdoor plaza that extends the length of its landmark Fifth Avenue building from 80th to 84th Streets and that the entire project will be funded by trustee David H. Koch.
The museum's plan calls for the creation of new fountains to replace the deteriorating ones that have been in use since they were built in the 1970s, along with the existing plaza. The fountains will be positioned closer to the museum's front steps, improving access to its street-level public entrances at 81st and 83rd Streets, while the renovated plaza will feature tree-shaded all�es replacing the trees already there, which have limited lifespans and low environmental benefits due to their planting conditions; permanent and temporary seating areas; and new, energy-efficient, diffused nighttime lighting. The monumental front steps at 82nd Street will remain unchanged.
According to Bloomberg.com, Koch has pledged $60 million for the project, which is slated to see construction begin in the fall and last for nearly two years. In 2008, Koch, who amassed his multibillion-dollar fortune in the chemical and oil industries, pledged $100 million to renovate the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center.
"The Metropolitan Museum's Fifth Avenue plaza is the public face of the Met, the first on-site experience for our millions of visitors from around the world," said Met director and CEO Thomas P. Campbell. "As such, it should mark the beginning of the extraordinary environment that awaits them inside, where our magnificent collections will take them across the globe and through centuries of history."