Walker Art Center Upper Garden Wins ASLA Honor Award

The Walker Art Center Upper Garden, designed by Inside Outside as Lead Designer and HGA as Landscape Architect of Record, has won a 2018 Honor Award for design excellence from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Professional Awards program.

The jurors praised the garden for creating a welcoming entry approach to the art center and providing a dynamic experience for engaging art, impromptu programming, and public events.

The six-acre, hillside Upper Garden is part of a larger 19-acre Walker campus vision that includes a new 5,500-square-foot Entry Pavilion, also by HGA, and a renovated Minneapolis Sculpture Garden that have re-positioned the contemporary art museum as a community destination.

The garden completes a green roof above an existing underground parking garage. A series of plantings, pathways, seating, and sculptures provide varied settings and sensory experiences that create a visual and physical link between the adjacent residential neighborhood, Sculpture Garden, and Entry Pavilion. Distinct features include a “tree room” of Autumn Blaze Maples (above) that provides seating and vistas of downtown Minneapolis, wild Switch Grasses (below) that create a soft contrast to the angular geometry of the architecture, and zigzagging walkways that allow visitors to wander casually through the garden.

The garden supports the Walker’s mission to blend indoor and outdoor experiences for visitors.

“The Walker’s diverse programming requires a variety of landscape spaces ranging from education programs, music festivals, film festivals, performance art, outdoor dining, and sculpture viewing,” said Theodore Lee, ASLA, SITES, LEED AP, Landscape Architecture Department Leader at HGA. “The design solution is adaptable and accommodates passive and active programs for one person to thousands.”

Since opening in 2017, the garden has provided a backdrop for such popular events as the annual Rock the Garden music festival, Summer Music & Movies, and Free First Saturdays.

The Walker Art Center Upper Garden previously won the ASLA Minnesota 2018 Award of Excellence.

The national ASLA Professional Awards program recognizes the best of landscape architecture in general design, analysis and planning, communications, research, and residential design categories.

For more information, visit the American Society of Landscape Architects.