My Landscape: Urban Greenery At NYC Hospital


With well-being the focus, the new hospital tower at NYU Langone Health includes a landscaped entrance plaza and generous terrace.

In 2018, the opening of the Kimmel Pavilion at this Manhattan healthcare facility included design elements that provide access to natural light and open space. Sponzilli Landscape Group of Fairfield, NJ installed plantings, trees, and hardscape.

Here, Sponzilli Landscape Group shares the project background and the decisions behind installation.

Opened in June 2018, the newly constructed Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Pavilion, part of NYU Langone Health system, represented one of the largest scale projects in Manhattan in recent years. The inpatient facility is for adult and pediatric patients, and the project owner set access to the outdoors and greenery as an important goal. Hargreaves Jones (formerly Hargreaves Associates) was the landscape architect on the project, collaborating with building architect, Ennead Architects. Sponzilli Landscape Group located in Fairfield, NJ, handled the entire landscaping installation.

NYU Langone Health
The entrance plaza at the Kimmel Pavilion healthcare facility.


Located at 1st Avenue and 34th Street in New York City, the Kimmel Pavilion hospital tower includes a one-acre ground level arrival plaza and a 26,000-square-foot outdoor terrace on the seventh level overlooking the East River.

The ground level area includes an arrival garden and plaza that blends seamlessly next to vehicular arrival and drop-off. The seventh level terrace includes gardens, outdoor dining, and spill out space for conferences and other events. The terrace also includes dedicated space (an outdoor classroom, gardens, and interactive elements) designed specifically for pediatric patients. Meanwhile, resiliency planning was incorporated into the landscape by integrating a retractable flood barrier set within the ground level plaza construction.

Both the ground level plaza and terrace feature a mix of landscape and hardscape elements. These include:

  • An intricate custom paver installation
  • Ipe woodwork, seating, and decking
  • More than 2,000 cubic yards of engineered soil
  • A canopy perennial viewing roof
  • 7″ caliper specimen trees craned to rooftop positions
  • More than 5,000 perennials and plantings

Micro-climatic conditions on the terrace inspired the program zoning as well as three zones of different plant selection: sunny, wind-tolerant native coastal; seaside garden; and shade loving, low height, highly textured. To accommodate these plantings, the terrace was designed for 24″ soil depth; this allows plantings to be set flush with the pavement to enhance the garden-like setting.

“Recognizing that design greatly impacts the patient experience and can have positive effects on health outcomes, these new spaces have been thoughtfully planned with warm and welcoming environments that encourage overall health and well-being, where patients can find comfort and draw inspiration from their surroundings,” said Vicki Match Suna, AIA, senior vice president and vice dean for real estate development and facilities at NYU Langone.

NYU Langone Health

NYU Langone Health

NYU Langone Health
Patients, visitors, and staff access this outdoor green space from the building’s seventh floor. Trees, plants, hard-scape, and seating blend to offer a variety of spaces and experiences on the terrace. (Photos: Sponzilli Landscape Group)

“It is designed to give them, and their loved ones, abundant access to natural light, nature, and open space,” she added. “Outdoor settings like landscaped gardens for all to enjoy, roof terraces that provide beautiful views of the East River and New York City, and the integration of artwork throughout the building are all intended to enhance one’s connection with the environment and create a sense of engagement, comfort, and calm.”

Dan Sponzilli, CEO of Sponzilli Landscape Group, commented, “It has been a great privilege to be part of the NYU Langone campus project. This is one of the largest construction projects in Manhattan. We are very proud of the beautiful outdoor spaces throughout the campus and the fact that this important project was entrusted to Sponzilli Landscape Group.”

Learn more about Sponzilli Landscape Group here. For more about project landscape architect Hargreaves Jones, visit

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