The Winter Garden at the World Financial Center

The Winter Garden at the World Financial Center

New York, NY, USA

CLIENT Olivia and York, World Financial Center / STATUS Completed 1988, Restored 2002 / SIZE 18,000 SF / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates, Pelli Cesar Pelli

The Winter Garden in Battery Park City’s World Financial Center serves as the cultural center of the 3.5-acre complex. This glass hall is the main connector of all public circulation within the project and with the World Trade Center site. Its success as a public space is due in part to its dedicated programming staff; Balmori Associates worked closely with them, carefully laying out all the activities desired in the space before designing its paving, landscape, and circulation.

After suffering severe damage in the September 11th attacks, the Winter Garden underwent a $50 million renovation, reopening a year later. The passageway leading to the World Trade Center has been replaced by a glass façade, providing a new entryway to the space as well as a view of Ground Zero. Visitors to the garden descend a huge semi-circular staircase from the upper level to the palm grove below. The garden’s glass walls are lined with shops and restaurants; movable public seating can be adjusted around the space’s perimeter. Newly created galleries along the walls host exhibitions.

Sixteen palms are planted in a rectilinear grove, with the floor around them paved in diagonal patterns of imported marble. The palm variety is Washingtonia Robusta, a native American tree with a narrow trunk and lush foliage, rugged enough to withstand the hall’s dry environment and wide temperature range.