Cooper Hewitt Opens Reimagined Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden

Open Free of Charge to the Public, Starting at 8 a.m. Weekdays
November 24, 2015
News Release

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The Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum opens Friday, Nov. 27 following a redesign by Hood Design Studio, in collaboration with Raft Landscape Architects and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The revamped garden features new terrace pavers, garden pathways, plantings, a reimagined rock garden and a transformed northwest garden. It will be open to the public free of charge starting at 8 a.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends. The opening of the garden marks the final phase of Cooper Hewitt’s renovation of the Carnegie Mansion and museum campus, which was recently recognized with LEED Silver certification.

“National Design Award winner Walter Hood has translated the garden’s historic origins into a stunning contemporary landscape, which will be home to a variety of public programs, events and exhibitions,” said Caroline Baumann, director of the museum. “I am truly delighted that, for the first time in the museum’s history, everyone can experience and enjoy free of charge this rare treasure of enclosed green space in the middle of Manhattan.”

American landscape designer and artist Walter Hood has dedicated his career to public garden design, developing community-inclusive landscapes across the country. In order to imbue the garden with a sense of place specific to Cooper Hewitt, Hood took into account Richard Schermerhorn Jr.’s original 1901 garden design drawings for Andrew Carnegie and the garden’s location at the edge of Central Park.

“Balancing the need for more program space outdoors with the responsibility to honor the historic nature of the garden and mansion was top-of-mind at each phase,” said Hood. “We designed new garden spaces around the museum to create opportunities for engagement and discussion.”

Project highlights include:

  • A reimagined rockery, referencing the geology of Carnegie Hill
  • New plantings of cherry trees and rhododendrons provide a link to Central Park’s landscape and color palette
  • A new sloped walkway brings garden visitors into the northwest garden, where movable tables and chairs, a table-tennis table and garden planting enliven the space
  • Durable materials and plantings that can withstand frequent use and climate fluctuations
  • Visitor entry through the museum’s 90th Street entrance featuring a striking canopy designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro

With the museum’s growing audience and free public access to the garden and cafe, the spaces can now accommodate groups of various sizes from an intimate conversation to larger programs and events.

The Tarallucci e Vino cafe offers pastries, espresso, salads, soups and panini sandwiches to enjoy inside or outside in the expanded seating area. This spring, the cafe will provide table service in the garden, featuring sustainable, locally sourced, seasonal food.

The Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden redesign is made possible by major capital funding from The City of New York. Generous support is provided by Nancy Marks. Additional funding is provided by Enid and Lester Morse, Leslie and Charlotte Moore Foundation, Madeleine Rudin Johnson and the Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden Endowment Fund.

LEED Silver accreditation

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, the LEED rating system is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance. Cooper Hewitt’s renovation project (including the Carnegie Mansion and Miller/Fox townhouses) achieved LEED Silver certification for optimizing energy performance, purchasing green-e certified electricity supply, maintaining 95 percent of existing structure and envelope, water use reduction, community connectivity and public transportation access.

About Hood Design Studio

Founded in 1992 in Oakland, Calif., Hood Design is committed to issues that address the reconstruction of urban landscapes within towns and cities. The firm takes a multidimensional approach to projects, exploring the role of specific landscape typologies and topologies that together reinforce and remake landscapes that are specific to place and people. The firm’s principal and founder, Walter Hood, is a professor and former chair of the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning program at the University of California, Berkeley.

Committed to the development of environments that reflect their place, time and social uses, Hood Design’s interest in the reconstruction of urban landscapes seeks to develop new strategies and spatial forms that also validate their existing context. Its project research includes cultural and environmental histories, as well as physical, social and biological patterns and practices that begin to uncover familiar and untold stories about the site and its context.

Hood Design has received the AIA Award for Collaborative Achievement, USA Character Approved Honor by NBC Universal, and was runner-up in the NCPC’s President Park South Design Competition. In 2010, Walter Hood received the National Design Award for Landscape Design from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and served as the Goldman Sachs Design Fellow for the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. He is also a Fellow at the American Academy in Rome.

About Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Diller Scofidio + Renfro is an interdisciplinary design studio that integrates architecture, the visual arts and the performing arts. Based in New York City, the 115 person studio is led by four principals—Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, Charles Renfro and Benjamin Gilmartin—who work collaboratively on the design of each project. Recent and ongoing projects include the redevelopment of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the expansion of the Museum of Modern Art, the new start-up CultureSHED and the High Line park, all in New York; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Brown University Creative Arts Center, Providence; the Broad Museum, Los Angeles; UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley; and the Museum of Image and Sound, Rio de Janeiro.

DS+R's commitment to integrating multiple disciplines was recognized in 1999–2004 with the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius” award, the first given in the field of architecture. Recently, the studio was awarded a Centennial Medal of Honor by the American Academy in Rome. Other awards and honors received by DS+R include: the AIA President’s Award; the AIA Medal of Honor; and AIA Design Awards for numerous projects. In 2003, the Whitney Museum of American Art held a retrospective of the studio’s work.

About Raft Landscape Architecture

Raft is a landscape architecture firm that applies visual thinking and analytical rigor to create landscapes that make a difference. Using research and strategic thinking, Raft reveals how outdoor spaces can become beautiful environments that foster human interaction while producing measurable ecological and economic benefits.

Raft’s process is rooted in the dialogue between firm partners Matt Donham and Rebecca Hill. Their distinct, complementary design approaches lead them to actively question and reevaluate assumptions to maximize the natural, political, and economic systems at work in the built environment. As a former partner at PWP Landscape Architecture, Donham brings the knowledge and expertise to design and build places of enduring craft and quality. Hill’s background in research science allows her to digest and graphically represent critical data to reveal site potentials that aren't immediately apparent. Donham and Hill earned their Masters in Landscape Architecture at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design where they studied under Professor Walter Hood.

About Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Founded in 1897, Cooper Hewitt is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. On Dec. 12, 2014, Cooper Hewitt opened in the renovated and restored Carnegie Mansion, which offers 60 percent more exhibition space to showcase one of the most diverse and comprehensive collections of design works in existence. Currently on view are 10 exhibitions and installations featuring more than 650 objects throughout four floors of the mansion, many of which draw from the museum’s permanent collection of more than 210,000 objects that span 30 centuries. For the first time in the museum’s history, the entire second floor is dedicated to showcasing the permanent collection through a variety of exhibitions. Visitors can experience a full range of new interactive capabilities, including the opportunity to explore the collection digitally on ultra-high-definition touch-screen tables, draw their own designs in the Immersion Room and solve design problems in the Process Lab.

Cooper Hewitt is located at 2 East 91st Street at Fifth Avenue in New York City. Hours are Sunday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden and Tarallucci e Vino cafe open at 8 a.m., Monday through Friday, and are accessible without an admissions ticket through the new East 90th Street entrance. The museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Public transit routes include the Lexington Avenue 4, 5 and 6 subways (86th or 96th Street stations) and the Fifth and Madison Avenue buses. Adult admission, $18; seniors, $12; students, $9. Cooper Hewitt members and children younger than age 18 are admitted free. Pay What You Wish every Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m. The museum is fully accessible.

For further information, call (212) 849-8400, visit Cooper Hewitt’s website at www.cooperhewitt.org and follow the museum on www.twitter.com/cooperhewitt, www.facebook.com/cooperhewitt and www.instagram.com/cooperhewitt.

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SI-491-2015

Solo Medios 

Laurie Bohlk

(212) 849-8420

bohlkl@si.edu