Herzog & de Meuron’s design for Calder Gardens unveiled in Philadelphia

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Herzog & de Meuron’s design for Calder Gardens unveiled in Philadelphia

On September 7, 2022, the design of Calder Gardens, a new cultural and exhibition center in Philadelphia aimed to present the art of influential Philadelphian artist Alexander Calder (1898-1976).
Famed Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron designed the new building while the gardens are by renowned Durch landscape designer Piet Oudolf.

Featuring naturally-illuminated galleries and a continuous interplay between architecture and native plant species, Calder Gardens will present a rotating selection of masterworks
from the Calder Foundation in New York.
Installed both inside and outside the center, the art of Calder will be “in constant dialogue with nature and the changing atmospheres of the seasons”. Calder Gardens will provide the public with a place for art contemplation as well as for education through a program of public events.
Specifically conceived to present Calder’s work, Calder Gardens will be a place in which art and architecture meet “as a choreographed progression that moves visitors from the
quotidian city context to a more contemplative realm beyond the traditional museum
experience”.

From Parkway in the heart of the city, visitors will approach the building along a path that meanders through a landscape punctuated by trees, eventually reaching the main entrance on the building’s
north façade. Large windows will allow natural light to inundate the interior space and frame both the mutable geometry of Calder’s works and various gardens conceived as outdoor galleries.
Quiet but theatrical, Herzog & de Meuron’s design has been conceived to amplify the impact of the artworks while providing visitors with multiple points of view on Calder’s art.

The opening of Calder Gardens is scheduled for 2024.

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Above; renderings of Calder Gardens, Philadelphia; images via Andrea Schwan Inc.

A proposito del progetto Calder Gardens
Calder Gardens – associazione senza scopo di lucro – è stata voluta da un gruppo di filantropi di Filadelfia che lavora in collaborazione con la Calder Foundation e in collaborazione con la città di Filadelfia e il Commonwealth della Pennsylvania. Calder Gardens sarà gestito dalla Barnes Foundation, una rinomata istituzione culturale ed educativa che fornirà supporto amministrativo, operativo e di programmazione educativa quando il nuovo sito verrà aperto al pubblico.
Il Calder Gardens Board ha annunciato la selezione di Herzog & de Meuron come Design Consultants nel 2020.
Presentato a settembre 2022 davanti alla Philadelphia Art Commission, il progetto dello studio con sede a Basilea è stato sviluppato negli ultimi due anni e mezzo attraverso un’intensa collaborazione con il consiglio dell’organizzazione, la Calder Foundation e, dal 2021, con il paesaggista Piet Oudolf.

About Calder Gardens
The nonprofit Calder Gardens was launched by a group of Philadelphia philanthropists working in collaboration with the Calder Foundation and partnership with the City of Philadelphia and the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Calder Gardens will be operated by the Barnes Foundation – a renowned cultural and educational institution – to provide administrative, operational, and educational programming support when the new site opens to the public in what constitutes a new model for institutional sustainability and efficiency.
The Calder Gardens Board announced its selection of Herzog & de Meuron as Design Consultants in 2020. Presented before the Philadelphia Art Commission in September 2022, the design by the Basel-based architectural firm has been developed over the past two and a half years through intensive collaboration with the organization’s board, the Calder Foundation, and landscape designer Piet Oudolf.


Alexander Calder
Calder (b. 1898, Lawnton, Pennsylvania-d. 1976, New York City), whose illustrious career
spanned much of the twentieth century, is one of the most acclaimed sculptors of our
time. Born in a family of celebrated, though more classically trained artists, Calder utilized his
innovative genius to profoundly change the course of modern art. He began in the 1920s by
developing a new method of sculpting: by bending and twisting wire, he essentially “drew”
three-dimensional figures in space. He is renowned for the invention of the mobile, whose
suspended, abstract elements move and balance in changing harmony. From the 1950s onward, Calder increasingly devoted himself to making outdoor sculptures on a grand scale and, today, these stately titans grace public plazas in cities throughout the world.

Further details about Calder Gardens are available online at caldergardens.org.


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