Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Edward Larrabee Barnes, Peter Rothschild, Michael Von Valkenburgh Associates
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Urbanism

The brainchild of Walker Art Center director Martin Friedman, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is an 11-acre park with more than 40 works of art that is directly across the street from the museum. The land that the Sculpture Garden occupies was once the site of an armory and parade grounds and an outdoor setting for horticultural displays, but had sat empty since 1966. Park board superintendent David Fisher shared Friedman’s dream of a new kind of urban gathering space, which has welcomed more than 7 million people since its opening in 1988. Managed in a unique public-private partnership between the Park and Recreation Board and the Walker, the Sculpture Garden has served as a model for other cities across the country. Designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, the architect of the Walker’s 1971 museum building, and landscape architect Peter Rothschild of Boston, the Garden’s original footprint takes its inspiration from classic formal gardens of Europe, with its gravel-covered allĂ©es and the formal four-square symmetry of its “roofless” green galleries. Proving an immediate success, the Garden was expanded in 1992 with a design by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates of Cambridge, Massachusetts. A major rehabilitation and redesign process for the Sculpture Garden commenced in 2014.