Architecture & Design, Arts & Entertainment, and Travel & Tourism

Meijer Gardens hires architecture firm for re-envisioning and expansion

May 13, 2016
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Billie Tsien, left, and Tod Williams
Billie Tsien, left, and Tod Williams. Courtesy Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners/Thomas Grimes

After an international search that began a year ago with more than 60 firms, Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park has hired an architecture firm to “re-envision” and expand its facilities.

Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids said yesterday that it has hired New York-based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners for the project.

David Hooker, president and CEO of Meijer Gardens, said visitors to the park have increased tremendously since its opening in 1995, and it has become Michigan’s “leading cultural destination.”

The design effort is focused on advancing the organization’s mission of “horticulture and sculpture, honoring its donors and maintaining its commitment to accessibility, diversity and the environment.”

“We are excited to draw upon Tod and Billie’s creative vision and talent and work with them on this exciting project,” Hooker said.

Hooker said Tod and Billie’s “unique perspective” will further enhance Meijer Gardens’ mission and dramatically improve its guest experience.

Williams and Tsien are currently studying Meijer Gardens’ organization and mission in the context of providing a “peerless visitor experience.”

Williams and Tsien are known for their “masterful design” of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and, most recently, the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University.

Williams and Tsien consider architecture as “an act of profound optimism” and have discovered a “similar spirit” in Meijer Garden’s marriage of art and inspiring green spaces.

“We are deeply honored to be have been selected by Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park for this special project,” Williams and Tsien said in a statement.

“From our very first visit, we were struck by the incredible quality of the sculpture collection and its sensitive installation throughout the grounds, as well as by their magnificent new Japanese Garden. We saw that the place and the people here are unique.”

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