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Join SiteWorks Partners Annette Wilkus, FASLA, and Julia Gold to explore the extensive research and design challenges to maintain Dan Kiley’s design intent for the atrium at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice. Learn about using subtropical plants and the complexities of constructing an indoor atrium in a historic building.
The Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice headquarters building, designed by Kevin Roche of Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Associates in 1968, included a 9,000 square foot, and a 160-foot tall Atrium garden designed by Dan Kiley. The Foundation’s mission-driven renovation modernized the building including a renovation of the garden to restore the spirit of the original Kiley design.
Kiley’s original design intent had degraded throughout the years due to pests and environmental conditions. Kiley’s design distanced him from the orthogonal layout he was known for by paying homage to the New England forest. His plant selections maintained open sightlines for transparency and light penetration, complementing the Atrium’s monumental scale and creating an intimate garden experience. The collaborative design team, led by Raymond Jungles, Inc. with SiteWorks and James Urban providing technical know-how, worked to restore Kiley’s vision and maintain his intent, despite the challenges of restoring a garden inside a landmark building.
Since its completion in 2018, SiteWorks has been working closely with the Ford Foundation and Alpine Contracting to maintain the garden in an active building without using chemicals. They will discuss the challenges and successes of creating an environment rich with plants in an interior location including temperature and humidity fluctuations, cleaning the plants, developing the use of beneficial insects to control disease, and the program to replace plants that may fail.