The New York Times Building Lobby Garden / HM White Site Architects and Cornelia Oberlander Architects

Courtesy of

The New York Times Building Lobby Garden led by HM White Site Architects in coordination with , as part of Renzo Piano Building Workshop and FX Fowle Architect’s design team, is considered the heart and soul of the headquarters building. Resting on Manhattan Schist bedrock as the building’s only unexcavated area, the courtyard is experienced by 360-degrees of uninterrupted views from a variety of surrounding public spaces and office spaces above.

Follow the break for further project explanation, drawings and photographs of the Lobby Garden.

Landscape Architects: HM White Site Architects in collaboration with Cornelia Oberlander Architects
Architects: Renzo Piano Building Workshop and FXFowle Architects
Location: New York City, New York, USA
Engineer: Thornton Tomassetti
Microclimatic: Ekistics Planning & Design
Lighting: Office for Visual Interaction, Inc
Arborist / Soil Food Web Specialist: Tree Wise Organics
Nurseries: High Ridge Farms Nursery
Landscape Contractor: Kelco Construction Inc
General Contractor: Amec Construction Co
Client: The New York Times Company
Photographs: Aaron Booher and Huei Ming Juang

Courtesy of HM White Site Architects

As a counterpoint to its dense, bustling Times Square neighborhood, the open-air garden’s central building location celebrates a serene fragment of the Hudson
River Valley woodland landscape at the heart of this man-made construct. Microclimatic conditions were measured through 3-D modeling simulations of seasonal solar radiation levels, wind velocity and temperature variations to identify horticultural limitations and inform a carefully calibrated design.

Courtesy of HM White Site Architects

Transected by a singular path highlighting the sculpted topography, an emerald evergreen carpet of sedges and ferns stages the golden autumn display of the Birch trees and a constellation of flowering bulbs in early spring. A layered web of infrastructure knits the garden with the building and the ground while also supporting the development of healthy endemic soil biology to ensure long term sustainability in this manufactured site.

east west section

Strict scheduling and coordination in the NY-Metro region were required to hoist each tree weighing 32,000 pounds over the 70-foot building facade into specific
locations and elevations within the courtyard.

garden layering

Wrapped in a transparent glass veil, the 50-foot tall Birch trees and the undulating carpet of sedges and ferns register a contrasting sculptural relief to the level
plane of the floating garden path and the lobby’s White Oak floor. No matter where one turns, the garden’s woodland sensibilities possess an omni present, drawing attention and sensual connection to changing light and seasonal qualitative.

Courtesy of HM White Site Architects

As event backdrop to the building auditorium, the garden emphasizes themes of transparency, juxtaposition and visual spatial layering against the building’s geo-
metric matrix and the lobby’s bold shades of red and marigold yellow.

site section

Beneath the Paper Birch grove, a lush rolling plane of Berkeley Sedge punctuated with Autumn Fern carpets the shaded understory surface. As viewed from above, advance microclimatic simulation studies accurately predicted the courtyard’s growing conditions and path of solar exposure which informed precise locations for the trees and selections for the deep shade-tolerant understory plantings.


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Cite: "The New York Times Building Lobby Garden / HM White Site Architects and Cornelia Oberlander Architects" 10 Jan 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • Nick


    • Kit

      So, it’s absolutely beautiful.

  • ivan

    wow…I love this place.
    It´s like a native forest into the city, simple and poetic.