Minneapolis' iconic Walker Art Center is about to become even more iconic. The Star Tribune shed light today on plans for $75 million in improvements that are planned for the center and adjacent sculpture garden.
A new entrance pavilion will be added to the ground floor level of the Walker Art Center building that will be made mostly from glass and will feature a grass roof on top that blends into the adjacent landscape (think of a walk out basement essentially). The new pavilion will allow for the expansion of the cafe along with a more iconic and focal entry from the sculpture garden.
Landscape additions will be included across the property. The Walker plans to rework the land and add trees to hills that are featured at the back of the property where events such as Rock the Garden are held. The additions and alterations are meant to tie the Walker Art Center and the Sculpture Garden across the street closer together so that they operate as one fluid piece rather than two very successful neighbors.
The $75 million worth of improvements are already largely funded with the Walker already having $60 million in funds for the project. This does include the $10 million in public funds given by the state of Minnesota however those funds will be used solely for the renovation of the Sculpture Gardens.
The new entry pavilion addition will be the final stage of an expansion in which the Walker began 10 years ago. The project itself will not only allow for a better user experience but it will also allow the Walker to be able to add more works to the sculpture garden grounds at a later phase due to the increased endowment.
The expansion is designed by the firm HGA which is based out of Minneapolis. Inside Outside, a firm headquarter out of the Netherlands, will also handle a portion of the design work. The last Walker expansion occurred in 2005 with the addition of the "cube" as most call it to the front of the site which was designed by the world renowned firm Herzog and de Meuron.
Construction on both the museum and the adjacent sculpture garden enhancements is expected to be underway by September.