The design for the terrace, situated in a high-rise luxury building in midtown Manhattan, was deeply informed by the client’s desire to recreate an alpine landscape of the Rocky Mountains, where plants grow naturally at windswept, high altitudes. The design was translated through the rigor of a reductive geometry of straight lines and one intersection condition. With orthogonals and planes forming the garden’s framework, the planting strategy drew upon an exuberant display of plant cultivars, offering a pleasing dynamic range to the garden’s overall form. Extensive research was done on plant cultivars, planter fabrication techniques, and material systems to enable the plants to thrive in harsh, urban conditions. Furthermore, high wind conditions required both concrete furniture and planters alike to be rigorously secured. Stainless steel planters with lush vegetation of varying heights work to define spaces on the terrace, an otherwise plain 590 square foot “L”. While plant selection was rooted in horticultural tradition, the design and fabrication of the garden elements are themselves contemporary in both spirit and form. Stainless steel rectangular planters, made to resemble jewel boxes, punctuate and define the “outdoor rooms,” providing a crisp definition to the design layout and establishing “zones” for relaxing, entertaining, and al fresco dining. The client, an avid gardener, worked closely with Dirtworks, PC on a planting palette tolerant of a range of soil, light, and microclimatic conditions. The garden features species which have adapted to rocky environments, aggressive winds, and high altitudes. Other more conventional perennials sprinkled throughout are a subtle reminder of the garden’s place in midtown Manhattan. Form, color, and texture tie the garden design together while considerations for seasonal interest enliven the terrace year round. At dusk, the garden comes alive with discreetly placed and natural colored “pen” lights positioned at varying heights. Highlighting the vegetation, the jewel-box planters, and the terrace’s bold orthogonal lines, the twinkling glow resembles fireflies illuminating the undergrowth of colorful wild flower fields of the Colorado Mountains at night.
Location: New York, New York