Lake Flato on Twitter
Karno Widjaja

The Big Apple Visited: Four Freedoms Park

Posted by on 10/29/13 at 07:14pm

Earlier this month, I had a wonderful opportunity to revisit The Big Apple a.k.a. New York City. Besides attending a conference and meeting fellow architects and practitioners, the highlight of the visit was being able to see new sights and explore new areas that I had never been to before. What I like about NYC is that there’s something to see and explore during every visit.

First item on the trip was the visit to the recently completed Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. Located on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island in New York City’s East River, this glorious Park was the last work of the renowned architect Louis I. Kahn. He conceptualized the memorial in 1973, the same year Welfare Island was named in honor of the president.

Entry Stairway

The entry procession to the memorial is very well though out (Kahn at work), you enter facing an immense granite volume , igniting a sense of curiosity to traverses up the steps to reveal monumental  view lined with trees on both sides, also known as “The Void”

"The Void"

In his impassioned State of the Union address in 1941, he looked forward to “a world founded upon four essential human freedoms-”

Freedom Of Speech 

Freedom Of Worship 

Freedom From Want 

Freedom From Fear

An excerpt from this speech as well as a bust of FDR forms the procession into the next part of the memorial.

Four Freedoms Park Memorial

From the back part of the memorial behind “The Void”, the view of the lower east side of Manhattan and some parts of Brooklyn is clearly visible. This portion of the memorial is known as “The Room”, with the massive granite walls creating a sense of enclosure to direct the visitor towards the view ahead at the tip of Roosevelt Island.

"The Room"

Like every budding architect, noticing details seems to be ingrained in our travels. It is interesting to see how the stair railing was detailed to reflect the minimal nature of the memorial, one piece of metal bent in a pristine manner.

Stair Details

Before leaving, the guide points out a piece of text engraved into the granite face, a commemoration to the architect. Somehow, I get the feeling that Kahn would not have wanted his name at any part of the memorial.

Commemorating the Architect

Next part hopefully coming up soon.