The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a beloved city landmark drawing more than one million visitors a year, but the need to create additional parking for the institution without disturbing the fabric of Fairmount Park posed a daunting challenge. OLIN’s solution, the Sculpture Garden, is built directly over a new 440-car underground parking facility, cleverly disguising and seamlessly integrating the structure and garden into the existing landscape. An outdoor extension of the museum’s vast art collection, this series of outdoor galleries further connect the art museum to the city. The higher of two overlooks provides dramatic views of Kelly Drive, the Schuylkill River, Water Works, the lush Azalea Garden, Lemon Hill and beyond. Meanwhile, symmetrical water walls on the lower overlook echo the river and its falls, mask expressway noise, and establish a dignified setting for sculpture. To maintain an open and sustainable garden experience, native plantings create changing seasonal attraction and provide a habitat for local wildlife. Further, as a four-acre green roof, the Sculpture Garden itself is a stormwater mediator, intercepting and detaining significant amounts of runoff. By merging art with function, the Sculpture Garden provides an elegant and sensitive response to the museum’s needs and its treasured place in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Museum of Art