The Ford Foundation building has long been considered one of New York’s greatest architectural treasures. Located in Midtown East just few blocks away from other architectural icons including Grand Central Terminal, New York Public Library and the United Nations Headquarters just a block away.

Completed in 1967, the building was designed by the 1982 Pritzker Prize-winning architect Kevin Roche and his engineering partner John Dinkeloo, with Dan Kiley as the landscape architect behind the amazing 12 stories tree-filled atrium.

The building’s exterior is composed by a combination of transparent glass panels, Cor-ten steel and mahogany-colored textured granite walls. Twelve stories of office space is located on the north and west sides, overlooking the south-facing 160-foot tall atrium . The glass enclosure creates a proper environment for an indoor garden space with plenty of natural light and originally the designers intended to relate the plants inside to the outside trees and the Tudor City Park located on the east. Dan Kiley created a sequence of terraces all connected to the main staircase to fix the thirteen-foot grade change between 42nd street and 43rd street. The landscape atrium is considered one of the most successful and admired interior spaces in a New York modern building and it has been a reference for many other interior open spaces designed in New York.

In September of 1997 the Ford Foundation building and its landscaped atrium received the Landmark Designation by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) – New York City agency responsible for administering the city’s Landmark Preservation Law and protecting building and sites with architectural, historical and cultural heritage.

The building recently went through two-year renovation led by Gensler architects to bring the building in compliance with New York City updated safety code, Landmarks Preservation Commission requirements, energy efficiency and accessibility requirements.

Landscaped terraces stepping down to 42nd Street.

Harold De la Rosa

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