The eight-year long renovation of Lincoln Center concluded on October 1 with the opening of a new pedestrian bridge over 65th Street. Designed by Diller, Scofidio + Renfro (DSR) with architects of record FXFowle, the blade-like bridge reflects the firm’s surgical approach to the entire campus. DSR has peeled off facades, sliced through existing circulation routes, and grafted on new programming and media, all while working in tandem with other specialists including Tod Williams Billie Tsien, Rockwell Group, and H3 Hardy Collaborative.
The bridge replaces a large plaza that covered 65th Street. The plaza had linked Julliard and the School of the American Ballet with the main campus, but it deadened the street below. The bridge serves the same link function while restoring the street circulation. The east side of the span is glazed and ultra-slim, while the west side, which provides structural support, is a faceted, monolithic bar. The crossing forks as it approaches the main campus. The structural bar bends back and down to the foundation under the Vivian Beaumont Theater, and the circulation plane jogs slightly east toward the theater’s entrance.
Painted in matte-grey, the structural bar has a muted, somewhat austere quality. “The area is a juncture between Saarinen’s modernist theater, Pietro Belluschi’s Brutalist building, and the postmodern building that houses the School of American Ballet,” said Liz Diller, principal of DSR. “We didn’t want to add another thing.” It is that sensitivity to background and foreground, to when to play soloist or as an ensemble, that has made the renovation a bravura performance.