Internationally renowned, New York based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners selected to re-envision and expand the facilities
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — March 23, 2017 — Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, one of the nation’s most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, is excited to announce the launch of a $115 million capital campaign titled Welcoming the World: Honoring a Legacy of Love. Since opening in 1995, Meijer Gardens has experienced tremendous growth in guest attendance, membership, art collections, dedicated garden spaces, and educational programs. Because of this success, major expansion in several key areas is needed.
“Our focus from the beginning has been to provide an exceptional experience for our members and guests, and we’re thrilled that we have the opportunity to build on our success with this new endeavor,” said President and CEO David Hooker. “At its very essence, Meijer Gardens is a place of joy – and a legacy of love shared by Fred and Lena Meijer, the Meijer family, and thousands of team members, volunteers and donors who have created a special place. The name of our capital campaign reflects the love that Fred and Lena had for each other, for this community, and for sculpture and gardens. We strongly believe the growth of Meijer Gardens will continue and that the organization will thrive for generations to come.”
The project will include:
A new 60,000 square foot, LEED certified Welcome Center
A new 20,000 square foot, LEED certified Covenant Learning Center
A new Peter C. and Emajean Cook Transportation Center
Expanded and upgraded Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheater
A new Sculpture Garden Entry Plaza
A reimagined and expanded BISSELL, Inc. Scenic Corridor
A new Outdoor Picnic Pavilion
A new Padnos Families Rooftop Sculpture Garden
Expanded and accessible parking and urban gardens
Construction is scheduled to begin in fall 2017 and last approximately four years.
The proposed changes will further Meijer Gardens’ mission to promote the enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of gardens, sculpture, the natural environment and the arts. A 2016 economic impact study, conducted by Grand Valley State University, estimated that Meijer Gardens supports or contributes more than $75 million to the Kent County economy each year. This new project addresses facility needs that came from significant growth over the institution’s 22-year history. New areas will allow Meijer Gardens to expand annual horticulture exhibitions, provide more galleries for sculpture exhibitions, add room for guests to move about safely and easily, host more events, and create additional space that is LEED-certified and architecturally significant. The project will also add parking capacity and improve vehicle flow.
New York firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners has been selected to re-envision and expand the facilities. Well-known for their masterful design of the iconic Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and, most recently, chosen to design the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, Williams and Tsien see architecture as “an act of profound optimism.” They have discovered a similar spirit in Meijer Garden’s unique marriage of beautiful art and inspiring green spaces. “We are deeply honored to be have been selected by Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park for this special project,” said Tod Williams. “From our very first visit, we were struck by the incredible quality of the sculpture collection and its sensitive installation throughout the grounds, as well as by their magnificent Japanese Garden. We saw that the place and the people here are unique.” Guided by Tod and Billie, the design team will ensure that the new Meijer Gardens campus is an expression of the mission of Meijer Gardens in both form and function. Local partners Progressive AE and Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. will be heavily involved with the design and construction process.
The generosity of the Meijer family and the thousands of donors from our community has helped Meijer Gardens become one of the 100 most visited museums in the world. “We are sincerely grateful for the extraordinarily generous support of the Meijer family and so many others in creating a cultural institution that has served over 10.4 million people,” Hooker said.
To date, nearly $102 million has been raised for the capital campaign. “The new facilities will be an amazing expression of our mission never before imagined,” Hooker added. “We're thrilled with the success of the campaign but mostly, we are deeply moved by the community’s generosity toward Meijer Gardens.”
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About Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners
Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have been working together since 1977 and founded their architectural practice in 1986. Located in New York, their studio focuses on work for institutions including schools, museums, not-for-profit organizations, and people who value issues of aspiration and meaning, timelessness and beauty. Their buildings are carefully made from the inside out to be functional in ways that speak to both efficiency and the spirit. A sense of rootedness, light, texture, detail, and most of all, experience, are at the heart of what they design. Over the past three decades they have received more than two dozen awards from the American Institute of Architects, as well as numerous national and international citations. Outside the studio, Tod and Billie are devoted participants in the cultural community and have long-standing associations with many arts organizations. They maintain active academic careers and lecture worldwide. As both educators and practitioners, they are deeply committed to making a better world through architecture.
About Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Currently host to a landmark Ai Weiwei exhibition, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park serves over 700,000 visitors annually. Meijer Gardens was recently ranked in the top 100 most-visited art museums worldwide by Art Newspaper, the leading publication in global art news. The 158-acre main campus features Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory; one of the largest interactive children’s gardens in the country; arid and Victorian gardens with bronze sculptures by Degas and Rodin; a carnivorous plant house; outdoor gardens; and a 1900-seat outdoor amphitheater, featuring an eclectic mix of world-renowned musicians every summer. The internationally acclaimed Sculpture Park features a permanent collection including works by Oldenburg, Moore, Hepworth, Serra, Bourgeois, Ai Weiwei and Plensa, among others. Indoor galleries host changing sculpture exhibitions with exhibitions by Ai Weiwei, Picasso, Degas, di Suvero, Borofsky, Calder and Dine. In June 2015, the eight–acre Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park opened. Created by renowned designer Hoichi Kurisu, the garden features sculpture by Anish Kapoor, Jenny Holzer and Guiseppe Penone, among others.