THE GREATEST GRID:
THE MASTER PLAN OF MANHATTAN, 1811-2011

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811, the show centers on this foundational document that established Manhattan’s famous street grid. Featuring the original map prepared by the Commission in 1811, as well as other rare historic maps, surveying tools, photographs and prints, and original manuscripts and publications that document the city’s physical growth, the exhibition examines the grid’s initial design, implementation, and evolution.

In an strangely proportioned, undifferentiated gallery, we created a series of walls that define discrete display alcoves and circulation paths – a considerable dose of playfulness and metaphor.

New York’s grid is different from other cities in that the east and west cross streets are focused to the rivers and not to architectural monuments. Inspired by this openness, the seemingly endless vistas north and south up the twelve avenues is reflected with mirrors at both ends of the “streets”. In this way, visitors enjoy the same affect of infinity. Further exploiting the notion of grid as a planning module, dark vinyl alternates with the oak to underscore circulation and grid. The dark grey carries up walls punctuating a crisp graphic image.