Walker plans campus improvements

The Walker Art Center has announced it is planning improvements to its building, an adjacent green space and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, with repair work on the museum building to begin in February.

The Walker, among the leading venues for contemporary art and performance in the nation, aims to develop a “unified vision” for its campus, according to a press release from the museum. The planning process began in 2009 and was led by James Dayton, a museum trustee and principal architect at Minneapolis-based James Dayton Design who is currently serving as president of the museum’s board.

Resurfacing of the museum’s original, 1971 brick façade begins in February. A metal-clad expansion of the museum, designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, opened in 2005, but the façade of the older part of the building, designed by Edward Larabee James, is now in need of “extensive repair due to deterioration of its surface,” according to the announcement.

The renovations are scheduled for completion in December 2013. The museum will remain open and accessible to the public during the repair work.

Meanwhile, plans for the museum’s four-acre green space, site of the Open Field summer program, and the sculpture garden, are still under development.

According to the museum, the sculpture garden is in need of significant improvements after nearly 25 years of use. The garden is jointly operated with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, and both organizations continue to seek the funding for new plantings and energy efficiency improvements.

A new Jim Hodges sculpture of four boulders covered in brightly colored, glossy stainless steel appeared on the green space next to the Walker this summer. The hill beside the museum is also home to James Turrell’s “Sky Pesher,” installed in 2005.

The hill remains largely undeveloped and open, and according to the Walker any plans for the space will ensure it remains available for flexible programming, including the Open Field program and the museum’s annual Rock the Garden concert.