Hiroshi Sugimoto to Renovate Hirshhorn's Sculpture Garden

John Hill
18. March 2019
Rendering courtesy of Hirshhorn Museum

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, has announced that artist and architect Hiroshi Sugimoto will renovate and redesign its sculpture garden, the first time it will get a facelift since the 1980s.

Sitting near to the National Mall, the Hirshhorn occupies a donut-shaped building designed by Gordon Bunshaft in the early 1970s and includes the sunken sculpture garden across the street, next to the Mall. The sculpture garden is practically hidden from both the museum and the National Mall, hence the call for its transformation.

Sugimoto, known to architects for his blurry photographs of iconic buildings, recently renovated the Hirshhorn's lobby and designed the Enoura Observatory in Japan, revealing he is a capable architect as well. 

Sugimoto's plan for the Hirshhorn's sculpture garden will reopen an underground passage that linked the museum and sculpture garden, a feature that was part of Bunshaft's original design but has been closed for 30 years.   

A statement from the Hirshhorn indicates, "The new vision will create spaces for large-scale contemporary works and performances, as well as intimate spaces for the museum’s modern masterpieces." An enhanced entrance facing the National Mall, visible at the bottom of the rendering at top, will "directly engag[e] the more than 35 million people who pass through [the Mall] each year."

Sugimoto is leading the design of the sculpture garden with his team at New Material Research Laboratory Co. Ltd. in Tokyo, in association with New York's Yun Architecture. Quinn Evans Architects in Washington, DC, is serving as architect of record while Rhodeside & Harwell of Alexandria, Virginia, is landscape architect.

View of existing Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

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