Outdoor theater and submerged walkway of the New Orleans Museum of Modern Art’s Sculpture Garden Annex,
Landscape architecture firm Reed Hilderbrand cut a path through the water
as part of their extension to the Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Modern Art.
The Reed Hilderbrand addition is six acres (2.4 ha),
doubling the size of the Sydney and Bestof Sculpture Park at the New Orleans Museum of Modern Art (NOMA).
American practice Reed Hilderbrand has devised a 280-foot (85 m) track to run under the existing bridge that crosses the existing site and the site of the new addition,
and has been described as the first connecting channel of its kind in the United States.
Lake water also rises to the top of the walkway railing,
a detail that NOMA Director Susan Taylor likens to the city’s largest dam systems blocking the Mississippi River.
It creates a connection to the water that is truly immediate and profound but also reflects the larger microcosms of New Orleans.
When you look over a bridge below the embankments,
you will see this amazing wall that keeps the water.
Water is also a key feature of the extension of the Sculpture Garden,
which wraps a lake that has been reshaped and cleaned of the mud that has accumulated in the lake over the years.
The dam also cuts through the water to allow for changes in levels as a way to address potential flooding.
The new garden consists of three curvilinear plots arranged around the water.
One of these was created by artist Elaine Zimmerman and is among 26 new sculptures in the park.
Other designs – including those of Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry,
Mexican sculptor Pedro Reyes and Irish painter Sean Scully –
have also been arranged to complement the surroundings.
There has always been coordination and thought between landscape and sculpture.
Landscape elements that were degraded after being damaged during Hurricane Katrina,
which hit the city in 2005, were also restored during the project.
The team also took measures to protect it from future damage,
such as adding vital scales to prevent runoff from the street.
As part of the project, local firm Lee Ledbetter & Associates has added an interior pavilion,
a 5,000-square-foot (465-square-meter) sculpture.
Elliptical structure with open space
The elliptical structure features an open space with 18-foot (5.5 m) ceilings to host large-scale designs,
and skylights are positioned around the perimeter of the building to bring in natural light.
Other additions to the sculpture garden include a tiered grass mound that provides outdoor seating for public performances on the backstage.
While the Sculpture Garden was first established in 2003 to accompany NOMA,
a fine arts museum established in 1911.
The park displays the works of 85 artists donated to NOMA by the Sydney Foundation and Walda Besthoff, and is still free and open to the public.
The extension was completed earlier this year and is part of a wave of new projects in the city, which is experiencing a renaissance in the wake of the typhoon.
Others include a range of boutique accommodations, such as the Peter & Paul Hotel and a location at the Ace Hotel.
London studio Assemble has also converted an abandoned building into an experimental fashion school in New Orleans.
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