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Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden revitalisation project approved

‘The final design by Hiroshi Sugimoto will enhance the experience of millions of Hirshhorn visitors in coming years.’

Hirshhorn sculpture garden

The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn has completed the public consultation process for the Sculpture Garden revitalisation project, which has been approved by the National Capital Planning Commission.

The National Capital Planning Commission, the federal government’s central planning agency for Washington and the surrounding region, voted in favor of the $60m project. The Commission of Fine Arts approved the plans in July.

“We welcome these approvals, which have followed a robust public process that allowed us to hear and incorporate the views of so many who care deeply about the garden,” said Hirshhorn director Melissa Chiu

$60m redesign of Sculpture Garden

“The final design by Hiroshi Sugimoto, the renowned Japanese artist and architect, will enhance the experience of millions of Hirshhorn visitors in coming years.”

The site development plans were reviewed and revised during eight public consultation meetings. Hiroshi Sugimoto‘s redesign makes the Smithsonian garden more accessible and inviting.

The entrance on the north perimeter will increase from 20 to 60 feet. On the south side, Sugimoto will reopen the underground passageway that connects the Sculpture Garden to the museum building.

The project will connect the garden on the National Mall with the plaza surrounding the Hirshhorn Museum. It will increase the display of modernist sculpture in the east garden by almost 50 percent, and expand the number of native plantings in the garden by 70 percent.

Final design by Hiroshi Sugimoto

“Our vision for the Hirshhorn, the only national museum of modern art free and open to the public year-round, champions artists first and foremost,” Chiu said. 

“The art of our time is often immersive, interactive and ready to break free of walls, and we believe that a museum of the 21st century needs to be responsive to the art being made today.”

Elsewhere, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. is closing for six months in 2022 to install new galleries as part of its renovation project.

Images: The Smithsonian

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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