Herzog & de Meuron

PHILADELPHIA, USA — The design for Calder Gardens has been unveiled to the public. Conceived to house the works of Alexander Calder, the project eschews a traditional museum format in favor of a series of unfolding spaces and gardens. With the client wishing to have a space to provide a totally new, intimate and ever-changing encounter with the work of Alexander Calder, the resultant design is a place that provides an interplay between art, architecture, people, and the surrounding city.

Since the given site between the Vine Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway does not have much charm, we felt that plants and gardens could help transform it successfully and turn itself into an attractive place for the people of Philadelphia, rather than simply adding another museum building to the already impressive collection of museums which are lining up along Benjamin Franklin Parkway. All of that strongly impacted our design — which was actually an open-ended process rather than a finished concept based on a fixed program. A kind of conceptual path which made us carve out the ground rather than build forms and volumes above — we were looking for space to present Calder’s work in a new and unprecedented way.

— Jacques Herzog


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