Jessica Ludwig, Deputy Director
Following Renzo Piano’s shift of the museum’s entrance from 36th Street to Madison Avenue, the exterior of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library was not as prominent a part of a visit to the Morgan. A project begun in 2016 and completed in 2022 aimed to revitalize this part of the campus and enable visitor access to the site through a restoration of the building’s exterior and a rethinking of the surrounding landscape.
Landscape designer Todd Longstaffe Gowan developed a plan that respects the structures created by McKim and Piano while encouraging engagement with the architecture and opening up new spaces for programming. A generous lawn sweeps across the space between the Annex and the Library. Paths of bluestone, set in patterns that derive from the Library’s floor and exterior paving, provide a fully accessible surface for garden visitors. Elegant pebble work and beds of periwinkle flanking the Library’s loggia add texture and color. Incorporated into the newly designed garden are several antiquities collected by Morgan which were intended for outdoor display. A significant component of the project is new lighting, which will enhance the building’s presence at night and whose subdued design refers to the Library’s origin as a private space.