New York, NY 2005 Water: WET Landscape Architect: Laurie Olin Photography: WET Located in the heart of Manhattan, Columbus Circle has long been the literal center of the city. All measurements taken from New York are taken from the statue of Christopher Columbus located at the center of Columbus Circle plaza. Broadway, Eighth Avenue and 59th Street all converge at this historic location which is at the base of the new AOL Time Warner towers designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and marks one of the main entrances to Central Park. For decades this site was not easily accessible. It is the center of a major vehicular rotary. Traffic continues to surround the site, but street lights, traffic lights and cross walks have been introduced that create easy access for pedestrians to the center of the circle. Designed by the Olin Partnership, this site has been transformed into a tranquil urban garden in the heart of New York. WET Design designed the project’s water elements. Concentric rings of terraced planting, trees, water, light and seating interweave to create a serene destination for visitors and the community. A perimeter of terraces made of unique topography, landscape and water define the circular plaza and surround the monument of Christopher Columbus, the sites landmark, which remains at the project’s center. Landscape and the sound of water isolate visitors from surrounding vehicular traffic. Emitting from terraces that encompass the plaza are two concentric rings of arching water jets. These spokes of water are kinetic. The rings interweave and evolve from shape to shape through a program of gentle choreography that changes the form and sound of the water. Visitors to Columbus Circle can experience the pleasant pedestrian surroundings from steps at the base of the monument, or from benches at the edge of the water. In the evening the site is illuminate with dappled animation as the fountain is vibrantly lit with white light.
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