GreenBranches Learning Gardens


MPA teamed with the Horticultural Society of New York (HSNY) to design and build three library learning gardens across the boroughs.

The design for the Whitestone Garden realizes the potential of its long-derelict site, with spaces for reading, gathering, and gardening. By remaking its edges – introducing a large glazed opening into a solid building wall, and activating the site fence with seating and planting – the Garden engages both street and interior. A trellis shade structure that cantilevers the existing fence, a planter wall lining the existing perimeter retaining wall, a water garden, and seasonal low-maintenance plantings all support programming and contribute to spatial quality.

The Stone Avenue Garden transforms an underutilized lot into community space. The quilt-like planter beds of varying heights enable people of different ages to work together on the garden. A trellis shade structure allows for reading aloud and other activities. Use of salvaged bricks and donated plants allowed the garden to be realized within a minimal budget.

MPA designed the gardens to enable maximum involvement and training of the HSNY GreenTeam, a transitional internship program for previously-incarcerated people.

Queens Chamber of Commerce, Building Award, 2010
Urban Omnibus, “Turning Lemons into Learning Gardens, 2009
Architecture League, NY Designs Juried Lecture Series, 2009
Wall Street Journal, “Library Branches in Full Flower,” Ada Louise Huxtable, 2008
Art Commission Special Award, 2005



About MPA

MPA’s multidisciplinary design practice, rooted in the strengths and sensibilities of its partners, spans architecture, landscape, and urban design, enabling us to mine the rich and often unseen potentials of a project and site.


132 Duane Street #1
New York, NY 10013
212 619 5560
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