Remembering Architect Kevin Roche: Notable Buildings in New York City and Beyond
In honor of Kevin Roche, who died March 1, 2019 at age 96, we looked back at the projects of the late architect and his firm, Roche Dinkeloo. His free-spirited yet elegant touch is evident in the lush corporate offices and institutional buildings he designed. Here, we highlight his legacies in New York City and beyond.
1. Oakland Museum in 1968
Roche designed this museum with the visitors’ comfort in mind. With bones of sandblasted concrete, the museum’s staggered rooftops flourish with abundant plants, and a main outdoor passageway connects the gallery entrances. This was the first of many green projects Roche would design, both environmentally and visually.
2. Ford Foundation Headquarters in 1968
When one thinks midtown Manhattan, greenery surely isn’t the first thought. But Roche had a different approach to designing a corporate headquarters. The enclosed garden immerses its inhabitants in a natural environment, which Roche believed would foster community within the staff.
The United Nations Plaza’s three-building complex near New York City’s East River waterfront makes a massive statement. The lobby, with its geometric glass skylight, was landmarked in 2017.
4. Bouygues World Headquarters in 1988
The industrial group’s corporate headquarters outside of Paris is over 1 million square feet. Its exterior calls back to French architecture, but the interiors are anything but traditional. Expansive windows and high ceilings bring openness, and the wide floor plans allow for flexible furniture arrangements.
5. J.P. Morgan Headquarters at 60 Wall Street in 1989
Roche made Greek revival references in Postmodern fashion for this 1.6-million-square-foot office building in Manhattan’s Financial District, both on the exterior and the entrance lobby, now a public space.
6. Museum of Jewish Heritage in 1997
The hexagonal structure of this building on the Hudson River waterfront serves as a reminder of the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust, as well as the points on the Star of David. The East Wing was completed in 2003, and Roche Dinkeloo continues to work with the museum on additional services.
7. Santander Headquarters in 2005
The Madrid campus of Santander Bank is over 4 million square feet, and its green roof is the world’s largest, spanning 1 million square feet. Even in the massive space, Roche paid close attention to the design in terms of how employees would interact. Courtyards and gardens provide meeting places, not to mention the calming effect of greenery in a workplace.
8. Additions to the Metropolitan Museum of Art starting in 1967
While the Met has been a work in progress since its 1870 founding, several architects have made a significant impact on the museum’s design. Roche Dinkeloo was one of them, with the Lehman Pavillion, Seckler Wing for the Temple of Dendur, and the American Wing Garden Court being the major contributions. These spaces allowed visitors to take a moment for themselves to reflect on the museum’s many works of art.
9. Roche Dinkeloo’s current project, Capitol Crossing
The Washington, D.C. development is currently underway as a potential for retail, residential, or office spaces. Located above Interstate 395, the project will make use of the empty space with two towers connected by a pedestrian bridge. And in Roche’s signature style, the rooftops will be green.