09. November 2012 / Peter Zöch

Newly opened Four Freedoms Park Survived Sandy

Nearly forty years after its commission and just before Hurricane Sandy hit New York, the Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island in New York City was opened. The new memorial park survived Sandy without major damage. Louis I. Kahn designed the memorial for Franklin D. Roosevelt in the early 1970’s. The park celebrates the four freedoms Roosevelt delivered in his great Four Freedoms speech in January 1941: “freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear”.

A triangular space lined by trees leads to a bronze sculpture of Roosevelt by artist Jo Davidson and frames views of New York City. The park culminates in the Room, a space on the southernmost tip of the island framed on three sides with granite columns. This place for peaceful contemplation highlights the power of discussion and diplomacy, part of Roosevelt´s political philosophy. Quotes of Roosevelt´s renowned speech are carved in the granite.

The Four Freedoms Park is one of Kahn´s last works. More projects by the US American master builder are currently on display in the exhibition “Luis Kahn: The Power of Architecture”. About 40 buildings and projects are presented in drawings, sketches, photographs, watercolours, film material and scale models. At the moment the first retrospective in 20 years is shown in the Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam until January 6. The Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein will present the exhibit from 23 March until 11 August 2013. In the video the makers of “Luis Kahn: The Power of Architecture” explain their intentions and aspirations.

Photos: Diane Bondareff, www.amiaga.com, Paul Warchol

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