French Architectes en Chef des Monuments Historiques Tour: Day 3

On the third day that WMF hosted a group of 20 conservation architects from France, we met near Lincoln Center on a sunny and warm spring morning. We were joined by Glenn Boornazian from Integrated Conservation Resources, as well as Norma Barbacci, WMF's Program Director for Latin America, Spain, and Portugal.

Our tour of the 65th Street redevelopment project, including the Julliard campus and Lincoln Center, was led by Areta Pawlynsky and Dan Vos, a partner at R.A. Heintges & Associates, the façade consultant to the Design Architect, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and the Architect of Record FXFowle. As we admired the sleek and dynamic Alice Tully Hall, the façade seemed to play tricks on the eye, with certain sections appearing to defy gravity as the building's trapezoidal shape jutted out over the sidewalk. The glass walls enabled us to gaze into the building and it was evident that the lobby space achieved a clean and modern environment.

Around the corner on 65th Street, we entered the Julliard School and got our morning workout as we climbed the steep staircase from the ground level to the second floor, where we had a great view of Lincoln Center from the outdoor terrace. From that vantage point we could also see the vibrant green roof that is thriving atop a building that is to be a restaurant, and because of the curved shape of the roof, the grass lawn seemed to undulate through the air. Although the sunlit plaza of Lincoln Center and its energetic fountain looked inviting, we couldn't linger, as we were off to our next adventure with the French architects.

Upon arrival at the Guggenheim Museum, we indulged in a delicious lunch at its new restaurant, the Wright. Fighting the onset of a “food coma” from such a satisfying meal, we got our afternoon exercise by climbing to the roof of the Guggenheim with George Ross, Director of Facilities, where we were treated to a spectacular 360 degree view of the city, including a striking view westward over Central Park.

After leaving the museum we made our way to the American Museum of Natural History, where we were greeted by James Stewart Polshek from Polshek Partnership Architects, whose firm designed the Rose Center for Earth and Space. The center, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, was designed as a research, education, and exhibition facility, specifically in the area of astronomy. As we entered the clear glass cube that houses the Hayden Planetarium, it felt as if we were leaving all familiarity with everyday structures and entering into an extra-terrestrial space. The structure is seven stories high and we got a behind-the-scenes look as we ascended to the top in a glass-walled elevator, which enabled us to admire the massive planetarium and view the overall space from above.

No visit to the Rose Center for Earth and Space is complete without a visit inside the planetarium, so we circled our way down to the entrance to see the four-minute video “Journey to the Stars,” and then we proceeded to the ground level to admire the structure from below.

Our adventure-filled day was capped off with a cocktail reception at the French consulate, where architect-en-chef François Botton gave a speech and the architects mingled with the presenters and other experts in the field.