American Swedish Institute, Nelson Cultural Center Landscape

Past Meets Present

The American Swedish Institute (ASI) reflects and builds upon the history, culture, and commitment to community at the core of the 83-year-old institution. A sensitive addition to an historic landmark and a new cultural campus transforms an entire block into an inspiring urban space. The design process was driven by a holistic approach to building sustainable communities, essential to the mission of ASI.

The new Nelson Cultural Center (NCC) addition and its campus are intended as a contemporary but deferential companion to the mansion and its grounds. The site design sets the NCC elevation three feet above the existing grade, and allows the new grounds to flow seamlessly into the historic campus, creating an entirely accessible campus and a unified edge treatment along Park Avenue.

The landscape team worked with the client and Historic Preservation Committee to design a modern interpretation of the distinguished wrought iron fence and limestone wall enclosing the mansion grounds. This beautiful seam between the public and private zones continues south along Park in front of the new addition as a simple steel “picket” fence atop a dry stack bluestone wall.


Minneapolis, MN

Building Type

Museums & Cultural Centers


  • 2014 Minnesota Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects Honor Award
  • 2013 Finance & Commerce Magazine, Top Projects of 2012
  • 2012 AIA Minnesota Honor Award

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