When the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden reopened in June 2017 after a multi-year renovation, longtime visitors checked their memories against the new arrangement. Is that piece new? Didn’t there used to be a . . . check out that rooster! Landscape architecture firm oslund.and.assoc and Snow Kreilich Architects revamped the landmark art park to improve its stormwater management and overall sustainability, as well as enhance its integration with the Walker Art Center’s newly redesigned landscape. Some features disappeared, new ones arrived, and old favorites remained the same—or almost the same.
Snow Kreilich’s Julie Snow says the iconic Cowles Conservatory was almost eliminated from the new plan. With its single-pane glass and palm trees in Minnesota’s continental climate, the energy-inefficient jewel box was far from sustainable. So Snow and her team unplugged it. The renovation removed the walls and opened the shelter up to the four seasons. “Now it better reflects its surroundings. It’s a place for people to gather within the park,” she says. “We’re so lacking in places for people to simply walk around and rest and enjoy public spaces. It’s an issue in the American city.”
For more insights on the rejuvenation of one of Minnesota’s most beloved public spaces, join oslund.and.assoc’s Tadd Kreun, Julie Snow, and special guest R.T. Rybak for a Target Free Thursday Night design conversation in the Walker Art Center Cinema.