The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is set on 7.5 acres of downtown Minneapolis park land adjacent the noted Walker Art Center. The sculpture garden was developed jointly by the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Park Board. Quennell Rothschild & Partners worked in close collaboration with eight artists on site‑specific works, as well as with the museum director, the architect of the Walker Art Center, Edward Larabee Barnes, and the Park Board, to create a flexible plan for the garden which would serve both museum visitors and general park users.
The garden is designed as a series of roofless outdoor galleries for exhibiting works of art from the museum’s collections, consisting of four 100-foot square plazas enclosed with low stone walls and clipped evergreen hedges, and a large grassy courtyard featuring a free‑form pond and a dramatic sculpture designed by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. QR&P worked closely with the artists to shape and plant the lake which was shaped to emulate a winged maple seed. Because the park site had once included a lake, severe settlement problems were anticipated, and a special subsurface structural system was developed to address this problem.
The project also included the construction of a 150‑long pedestrian bridge spanning route I‑94, designed in collaboration with artist Siah Armajani and funded by the Federal Highway Administration. Reviewing the project, Progressive Architecture wrote: “The garden, which combines public‑sector accessibility with a private‑sector intensity of vision, is a work of public art that is indeed a work of art.”