American Museum of Natural History Food-Education Pavilion and Historical Native Landscape Garden

The non-profit Friends of Roosevelt Park hired ORE to design a food education pavillion and historical landscape section within an underutilized section of Roosevelt Park.  Roosevelt Park is best known for it’s primary tenant, The American Museum of Natural History.

Located at the corner of Columbus Avenue and 81st Street, is roughly 7,000 square feet of currently fenced-off land. Directly accessible from the major commercial streets to the north of the museum grounds, as well as clear visibility from the Planetarium and Museum Expansion, this currently unused portion of the Roosevelt Park is perfectly positioned for an outdoor agricultural education hub. While the site is mostly open space with decent exposure to the sun, five existing trees bookend the site.  ORE sees this site acting as an educational hub between the new entrance of the Museum and the existing Planetarium access.

ORE conducted a shadow and soil study to determine agricultural potential of the site.  The resulting shade diagram resulted in locating the program onsite.  Unshaded space will be utilized for farm-centric activity. Capitalizing on the strength of the existing site elements, ORE sees the naturally shaded areas as perfect place-makers for meeting and resting in a park setting, previously provided only along the existing park’s asphalt paths. The northern third of the site is home to two inviting cherry trees and one elm. We see this area, in such close proximity to the park entrance and framed by the cherries, to be a natural entrance to the activated site.

The areas immediately adjacent to this entrance, which are only partially sunlit throughout the year, are not suitable for most crops. ORE is proposing planting hardy, native plants, possibly curated as an exhibition of historical planted ecosystems from Manhattan Island. From the site entrance a path, allowing for wheelchair access, would lead through the native vegetation to the urban agriculture and larger education areas.



The southern edge of the site is home to an existing mature ginkgo and elm tree. These trees are taller with less dense foliage than the trees to the north of the site, leaving larger open space below their canopies with clear lines of sight to the museum and other parts of Roosevelt Park.

This space would be ideal as an area for larger groups such as classes and field trips to meet beneath. In the of the stie is approximately 2,000 square feet of sunlit space. This area has been determined to have the most potential for crops and urban agricultural education center composed of a large greenhouse as an indoor agricultural education space and flex-space for farm related events.

Client: Friends of Roosevelt Park
Location: The Natural History Museum, Roosevelt Park, New York
Program: Food Education / Historical Landscape Pavilion
Area: 7,000 sf
Status: 1st Phase Under Construction