Snøhetta’s Design for 550 Madison Garden Moves Forward with Official Approval from New York City Planning Commission
Location: Oslo, Norway
Status: Competition, 2020
Snøhetta’s design for the public garden and revitalization of The Olayan Group’s 550 Madison received final and unanimous approval from the City Planning Commission this week, following the approval from Manhattan Community Board 5 in December. The design re-envisions the building’s public space as a generously expanded, densely vegetated garden. As a vibrant sensory retreat, its transformation draws upon the architectural heritage, the activity of the neighborhood, and the natural history of the region. Inviting people to slow down, linger, and connect to one another and their surroundings, 550 Madison’s new garden embraces the powerful contemporary role POPS can play within the context of New York’s ever-changing urban fabric.
For more than 30 years, Snøhetta has designed some of the world’s most notable public and cultural projects. Snøhetta kick-started its career in 1989 with the competition-winning entry for the new library of Alexandria, Egypt. This was later followed by the commission for the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo, and the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion at the World Trade Center in New York City, among many others. Since its inception, the practice has maintained its original transdisciplinary approach and integrates architectural, landscape, interior, product, graphic, digital design and art across its projects. The collaborative nature between Snøhetta’s different disciplines is an essential driving force of the practice. The practice has a global presence, with offices spanning from Oslo, Paris, and Innsbruck, to New York, Hong Kong, Adelaide and San Francisco.
Snøhetta is currently working on a wide range of international projects, including the Ordrupgaard Art Museum expansion in Denmark, the Cornell University Executive Education Center and Hotel in New York City and the Shanghai Grand Opera House. Recently completed works include Le Monde Group Headquarters in Paris, Europe’s first underwater restaurant. Under, the redesign of the public space in Times Square, the expansion to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Lascaux IV: The International Centre for Cave Art, Powerhouse Brattørkaia and the design for Norway’s new banknotes.
Snøhetta’s working method practices a simultaneous exploration of traditional handicrafts and cutting-edge digital technology. At the heart of all Snøhetta’s work lies a commitment to social and environmental sustainability, shaping the built environment and design in the service of humanism. Snøhetta believes well-conceived design can help things run more efficiently, improve people’s well-being and make life more enjoyable. Every project is designed with strong, meaningful concepts in mind – concepts that can translate the ethos of its users and their context. Among its many recognitions, Snøhetta has been awarded the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award for the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, and the Aga Kahn Prize for Architecture for the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. In 2016, Snøhetta was named Wall Street Journal Magazine’s Architecture Innovator of the Year, and the practice has been named one of the world’s most innovative companies by Fast Company two years in a row. In 2020, Snøhetta was awarded the National Design Award for Architecture, bestowed by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.