2021 Honor Award

General Design - Small Firm

The Flatiron Institute

New York, NY

Landscape Architect:

Dirtworks Landscape Architecture

Project Team:

Perkins Eastman, Architect


About the Project:

Named for the historic neighborhood’s architectural focal point, the
Flatiron Institute is dedicated to being thought leaders in the fields of
mathematics, astrophysics, and biochemistry. The landscape expands the
Center’s world-class programs into a vibrant rooftop, positioning nature as
an essential partner in interdisciplinary discussions.
The Flatiron Institute’s rooftop garden and interior plantings thoroughly
integrate the natural world and the office environment. Staff can be found
engaging in interdisciplinary dialog and problem solving throughout the
garden. Tiered seating encourages structured and impromptu gatherings,
while outdoor learning rooms feature slate chalk walls for discussing ideas.
Responding to the site’s challenging urban context, ecologically sensitive
plant communities provide habitat, seasonal interest, combat urban heat
island, absorb storm water, and dampen city sounds.

The Flatiron Institute’s rooftop garden fosters exchange across disciplines while
giving visual expression to current understandings in science and mathematics.
It provides an engaging environment seamlessly integrating the technical and
the aesthetic, fostering a deep connection with nature in an urban context.
The terrace serves as an extension of the Institute’s unique academic program.
Outdoor learning spaces with slate chalkboards encourage collaboration while
amphitheater inspires users to take advantage sweeping vistas for nocturnal
stargazing. Iconic forms illustrating mathematical concepts, such as the
vanishing datum line of a bench or the patterning of ash decking, demonstrate
beauty in subtle complexity. Green roofs and plantings moderate the building’s
energy load, capture rainwater, and dampen urban acoustics.

Ecologically sensitive plant communities enhance the Institute’s sense of place,
supporting resiliency within a challenging urban context. Selected plantings
support local insect populations; bees and butterflies are now in abundance.
Providing form and texture, the perennials and grasses create a sensory
experience, such as the calamint’s subtle fragrance or the joyful drone of a
nearby bumblebee. Sweeps of grasses provide dappled screening, while also
creating spaces that are safe, restorative and welcoming.
Finely crafted details considered materiality and complex architectural and
engineering coordination. The result is a space that effortlessly accommodates
a variety of large and small functions, private contemplation and dynamic
collaborations, various multi-media opportunities, and all necessary supporting
maintenance services.

Reflecting the diversity of the Institute’s scholars, the rooftop garden welcomes
everyone into nature regardless of capability. The design’s flexible framework
includes easily navigated sloped walks, areas for ADA companion seating
and accessible spaces for all. The landscape serves the Institute’s academic
mission to advance the frontiers of scientific research in a highly interactive and
dynamic environment. The garden fosters gathering, impromptu collaboration
and the cross pollination of ideas between investigators and nature.

Scroll to Top