Walker Art Center

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Future Perfect: The Walker’s One-Campus Vision
New Design Integrates Walker and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Coming soon, a green, unified Walker/Minneapolis Sculpture Garden campus

Image: © HGA Minneapolis and Inside Outside

In celebration of the Walker’s 75th anniversary, we announce a forward-thinking new plan to unify the Walker and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden into a more welcoming, community-oriented, and environmentally sustainable 19-acre campus for the next generation. Key features of the renovation include a new entry pavilion for the Walker, designed by Joan Soranno and John Cook of HGA Minneapolis, with enhanced indoor and outdoor amenities and spaces; a new Walker green space on the hillside by Petra Blaisse of Inside Outside, Amsterdam; and a reconstruction of the 26-year-old Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (a partnership with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board), designed by Tom Oslund of oslund.and.assoc. of Minneapolis. The project also implements green-roof technology on the entry pavilion, the greening of Hennepin Avenue, rainwater reclamation systems in the Garden, and the addition of hundreds of new trees throughout the campus. With groundbreaking in August 2015, the Walker renovation will be completed in fall 2016, with the Garden reopening to the public in spring 2017. To get updates on the campus’ transformation, visit the Centerpoints blog.

An illuminated entrance

Image: © HGA Minneapolis (art: Mungo Thomson’s Negative Space (STScI-PRC2012-10a), 2012)

The entry pavilion along Vineland Place will create a new hub for campus visitors and features a new dining experience and a dramatic, illuminated wall for art that will host rotating commissions by contemporary artists from around the world. Atop the pavilion is a terrace with views overlooking the Sculpture Garden.

A new Walker entry that blends into its surroundings

Image: © HGA Minneapolis

When seen from the sky, the new entry pavilion nearly disappears into its surroundings. The pavilion’s new green roof terrace offers views down the main pathway of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s iconic fountain-sculpture Spoonbridge and Cherry (1985–1988). A bosque of honeylocust trees, an echo of the current grove, allows dappled light to filter down onto a new outdoor terrace. New heated pathways wind through the new landscape allowing visitors to extend their Garden experience across the street to view works such as James Turrell’s Sky Pesher, 2005 (2005).

A natural amphitheater

© HGA Minneapolis and Inside Outside

A newly reshaped landscape will feature a gently crowned hill that creates a more natural amphitheater with expanded sight lines to events like our annual Rock the Garden concerts and special installments of Summer Music & Movies.

A bar and cafe, with hillside views

Image: © HGA Minneapolis (at left, Mungo Thomson’s Negative Space (STScI-PRC2012-10a), 2012)

The new entry pavilion at Vineland Place looks west to a new bar and dining experience. A dramatically sculpted ceiling features skylights for daytime illumination while floor-to-ceiling glass expanses allow the surrounding landscape and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to blur the distinction between inside and outside.

The view from Cargill Lounge in autumn

Image: © HGA Minneapolis and Inside Outside

The dramatic window of the Cargill Lounge will frame the landscape’s new hillside that features groves of maples, pines, and birches that offer changing seasonal color displays as well as a new perennial flower garden.

Greening Hennepin

Image: © HGA Minneapolis and Inside Outside

Along Hennepin Avenue, new landscape features will include additional trees, grasses, and shrubs that will replace much of the current concrete and granite hardscape—gestures that will envelope the Walker and return it to its garden setting.

A new, visible entry to the Walker from the underground garage

Image: © HGA Minneapolis

The renovations will include a dramatic new illuminated entry from the Walker’s convenient underground parking garage, operated by the City of Minneapolis.

The view of the new entrance and lobby

Image: © HGA Minneapolis

Visitors will take a direct path to Vineland Place with access to the Walker’s galleries, cinema, restaurant and bar, and to the world-famous Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, reimagined

Image: © oslund.and.assoc.

Created in 1988 through a partnership between the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Walker, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden will get a dramatic makeover. In addition to new plantings, walkways, retaining walls, and other highly visible structural improvements, the renovation will involve important repairs to irrigation, drainage, and stormwater systems, increased accessibility, and energy-efficient upgrades. For more on the project—spearheaded by landscape architecture firm oslund.and.assoc. with Snow Kreilich Architects—visit the Park and Recreation Board.

The full 19-acre campus, from above

Image: © HGA Minneapolis and oslund.and.assoc.

The new campus offers visitors 19 acres in which to explore the world of modern and contemporary art across the seasons in a verdant setting unlike any other in the region. In this aerial plan view of the campus, the new landscape’s design is revealed—a series of tree “volumes” and low vegetal “carpets” frame the edges of the southern campus, mimicking the scattered arrangement and winding pathways found inside the Walker’s 2005 expansion created by Herzog & de Meuron.

In the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, a new meadow is created at the northern end of the campus, featuring circular clearings that will showcase new artworks and familiar favorites. A series of low footbridges connect the clearings, spanning over new plantings that will flourish in the site’s naturally damp terrain. Invisible from the ground is a new state-of-the-art system of stormwater recovery and rainwater irrigation, making the garden an exemplar of a sustainable 21st-century park.