Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park

Artboard Created with Sketch.
New York, NY
Four Freedoms Park Conservancy
4 Acres
2014 Special Recognition for a Completed Project, NYC Design Design Commission’s Award for Excellence in Design
2013 Brendan Gill Prize, Municipal Art Society
2013 Best Day Trip category, New York Magazine’s Best of New York
2013 Urban Design Merit Award, AIA New York Chapter
2013 Best Day Out Award, Best of the Rest Category, Wallpaper Magazine
2013 Best In Class Award, Interactive Media Awards
2013 Synergy Award, Society of Registered Architects
2013 George W. Perkins Award for Environmental Leadership, Parks & Trails of New York
2013 Best Projects Award of Merit: Landscape/Hardscape/Urban Development category, Engineering News-Record
2012 Best Cultural Design Space, Annual Design Awards, Travel & Leisure Magazine
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The FDR Four Freedoms Park, a four-acre memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt, was one of the last projects designed by visionary architect Louis I. Kahn, FAIA. Kahn was asked to design the monument in 1972. Mitchell Giurgola joined the project initially to act as the New York Architect of Record on Kahn’s behalf. When Kahn died suddenly in March 1974, he was carrying with him the finished designs including a precise set of schematics. Mitchell Giurgola was asked to carry the project forward into design development and construction, ultimately serving as the architect of record. The project was finally realized in 2012.

Bringing Louis Kahn's Vision to Life

The FDR Four Freedoms Park anchors a 12.5-acre waterfront public space with spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. Plans for the Park were originally announced in 1973 by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and New York City Mayor John Lindsay. At that time, Welfare Island was renamed Roosevelt Island and dedicated to the memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Construction on the southern tip of the Island finally began in 2010, after nearly 40 years in the making.

All of the granite used in the construction of the Park was a type specified in the original plans by Kahn and quarried in Mount Airy, North Carolina. To produce 7,700 tons (roughly 15 million pounds) of dimensioned granite used in construction, 12,100 tons (roughly 24 million pounds) of granite were quarried.
Construction spanned 30 months and started with the "Room," a 72' square open plaza of granite. During this phase, a considerable challenge was the design of the foundations to support the enormous gravity load and aggressive lateral wind and water forces. In order to make the structure more robust, the solid granite blocks were laid horizontally.
The design called for extraordinarily tight tolerances that necessitated an equal measure of precision in its execution. Tolerances for the enormous granite blocks, each weighing 36 tons, were as little as 1/8" and they were placed 3/8" apart.
Since its opening in 2012, the FDR Four Freedoms Park has been very well received and has hosted over 1,000,000 people.