Whitestone Public Library Learning Garden

Queens, NY

Collaborating with the Horticultural Society to transform long-derelict outdoor spaces into dynamic and welcoming community learning environments
MPA teamed with the Horticultural Society of New York (HSNY) to design and build three learning gardens in underutilized sites adjoining branch libraries in Queens and Brooklyn.


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.


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


Owner: Queens Public Library
Horticultural Society NY
HSNY GreenTeam


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
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