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Louis Kahn's Roosevelt memorial park in New York finally set to open

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Louis Kahn’s Four Freedoms Park will open next month, nearly four decades after it was designed

The 1.6ha park and granite memorial to FD Roosevelt was executed by Mitchell/Giurgola Architects and is 380mm higher than Kahn’s 1973 design due to climate change.

Project brief (taken from www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org)

In the late 1960s, during a period of national urban renewal, New York City Mayor John Lindsay proposed to reinvent Roosevelt Island -then called Welfare Island - into a vibrant, residential community. The New York Times championed renaming the island for President Franklin D Roosevelt and constructing a memorial to him, remarking: ‘It has long seemed to us that an ideal place for a memorial to Roosevelt would be on Welfare Island, which…could be easily renamed in his honor… It would face the sea he loved, the Atlantic he bridged, the Europe he helped to save, the United Nations he inspired.’ The man chosen to give shape to this idea was the architect Louis Kahn, one of the masters of 20th century architecture.

Governor Nelson Rockefeller and Mayor Lindsay announced the project in 1973 and the appointment of Kahn as its architect. In short order, the Governor became Vice President of the United States, Louis Kahn finished his work and died unexpectedly, and the City of New York approached bankruptcy. It required patience, memory and determination – on March 29, 2010, 38 years after its announcement, construction of Franklin D Roosevelt F

Louis Kahn’s Four Freedoms Park in New York. Image by Amiaga

Louis Kahn’s Four Freedoms Park in New York. Image by Amiaga

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