hirshhorn museum wins approval for hiroshi sugimoto sculpture garden revitalization

hirshhorn sculpture garden revitalization project approved

a milestone is inevitable for the famous smithsonian hirshhorn museum in washington dc next to a online meeting on March 10, 2021 where information about the revitalization project was unveiled, Hiroshi Sugimoto sculpture garden revitalization design approved. the architect’s project elevates the visitor experience, blending original elements from 1974 with contemporary additions. By defining changes ranging from revised footpaths to atmospheric water pool features, a cohesive and interconnected Hirshhorn Campus is taking a stand.

‘sugimoto’s vision is very much aligned with the original influences of the garden but looks to the future. our next chapter is more inclusive and accessible and elevates the experiences and voices of today,” says hirshhorn director Melissa Chiu.

(above) rendering view of the east garden

(banner) looking south from the central gallery aisle
all images courtesy of hirshhorn museum and sculpture garden

japanese architect hiroshi sugimoto improves the experience of millions of visitors

following the unanimous approval of the national commission capital planning commission (CNPC) and the commission of fine arts (CFA) for Hiroshi Sugimoto design proposal, hirshhorn the revitalization of the sculpture garden came closer on July 15 when the CFA approved its final design. then, the project’s mission to unify the sculpture garden, plaza and museum will begin its new journey. as the space improves, the design manages to increase by nearly 50% the reception of modernist bronzes in the museum.

“We welcome these approvals, which followed a robust public process that allowed us to hear and incorporate the views of so many people who care deeply about the garden. the final design by acclaimed japanese artist and architect hiroshi sugimoto will enhance the experience of millions of visitors to hirshhorn for years to come,’ continue melissa chiu.

hirshhorn museum wins approval for hiroshi sugimoto sculpture garden revitalization
hirshhorn sculpture garden path with lowered concrete retaining wall

walking platforms provide flexible spaces for sculpture and performance art

maintaining the layered design history of the garden is one of the main aims of the project. in the central garden, sugimoto expands the water feature into a flexible performance space. The 1974 bunshaft reflecting pool will remain filled year round, heated if required. an enlarged water feature separated by a five-foot walkway is fitted with terraced steps surrounds an art platform, providing flexible space for sculpture and performance art. the visual connection is restored with various seating arrangements all around.

meanwhile, the design revisits the existing interior partition wall by transforming it into a pylon-like lower stacked stone structure. Inspired by Japanese dry stacking techniques, the modernist reconstruction provides a distinctive optical and acoustic backdrop during performances. overall, the dynamics of the garden are transformed into a harmonious entity of curatorial options, functions and views.

hirshhorn museum wins approval for hiroshi sugimoto sculpture garden revitalization
rendering of the west garden at night with a large scale order

sugimoto’s design achieves two important goals: to make the sculpture garden more accessible and inviting to the 30 million people who pass through it each year on the national mall, and to provide flexible venues for types of large-scale sculptures and works. based on time and performance which are the characteristics of today’s contemporary art. the organic proposal responds sensitively to art as site-specific installations, sculptures of various sizes, as well as dynamic galleries can all be adapted and enjoyed throughout the year. moreover, as accessibility via infrastructure is also improved, visitor comfort is achieved whether through unobstructed views, optimal acoustics or shaded seating.

‘it is an honor to be commissioned to revitalize and renew the hirshhorn sculpture garden. my design acknowledges the contributions of gordon bunshaft, the original architect of the hirshhorn, and lester collins, who reconsidered the garden in 1981. my challenge is to anticipate how art will be created, displayed and shared in an environment public. as an artist, I’m thrilled the proposal was accepted and can’t wait to bring it to life,” said the architect himself, hiroshi sugimoto.

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