The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Posts tagged with: Architecture
On this day in 1972, the Renwick Gallery opened to the public. The Renwick serves as the home of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s craft and decorative art program. The collections, exhibition programs and publications put forth by the Renwick highlight the best craft objects and decorative arts from the 19th century to the present. Presently closed for renovations, the Renwick will get a completely renewed infrastructure, enhanced historic features, and other upgrades such as an all LED lighting system. For now, until it reopens, here is a look at some historic images of the Renwick.
- James Renwick, Jr., Architect of Smithsonian Buildings, Stories from the Smithsonian, Smithsonian Institution Archives
In November 2014, the Smithsonian Institution unveiled a proposed Master Plan for the South Mall Campus to be implemented over a 10 to 20 year period beginning in 2016. The South Mall Campus includes the Smithsonian Institution Building (better known as "The Castle"), the National Museum of African Art, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Freer Gallery of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and a number of gardens located along Independence Ave between 7th and 12th streets.
Quite coincidentally, I recently came across some publicity materials related to the opening of Enid A. Haupt Garden. The Haupt Garden is a 4.2 acre space located on the south side of the Castle and one of the focal points of the Master Plan.
The Haupt Garden was conceived by Secretary S. Dillon Ripley and opened to the public on May 22, 1987 during the tenure of Secretary Robert McCormick Adams. The landscape design was a collaboration between architect Jean-Paul Carlihan, design firm Sasaki and Associates, landscape architect Lester Collins, and Smithsonian Horticulture Office Director James Buckler. The garden was named for philanthropist Enid Annenberg Haupt who contributed $3 million toward the project.
The Haupt Garden is actually a rooftop garden, 2 to 6 feet deep, above a subterranean structure known as the Quadrangle. The garden contains two pavilions and a kiosk which serve as entrances to the underground African Art Museum, the Sackler Gallery (featuring Asian art), and the S. Dillon Ripley Center (a meeting, exhibition, and office space). The three sections of the garden reflect the cultural influences celebrated in the adjacent architecture and museums. The eastern portion is a fountain garden influenced Moorish design. The western portion is inspired by Asian gardens with moon gates, two weeping cherry trees, and pools of water.
The central portion of the Haupt Garden exhibits 19th century influences in honor of the Smithsonian's roots and the Castle itself which opened in 1855. A colorful Victorian parterre has multicolored swags and ribbon beds which are changed with the seasons. Nineteenth century ornamental furniture, both antique and reproduction, from the Smithsonian's collections are displayed throughout the garden, including benches for visitor use. Reproductions of typical late 19th century American lampposts and fixtures line the paths. The main entrance features an elaborate carriage gate (the "Renwick Gate") based on an 1849 design by Castle architect James Renwick.
So what will happen to the Haupt Garden as the buildings around and below are revitalized? According the Master Plan Project Overview:
"The Haupt Garden is actually a green roof over the Quad and needs to be completely removed to correct chronic leaks. With the relocation of the Quad loading dock, the size of the Haupt Garden will be significantly increased. The new garden is likely to include more active, event spaces as well as areas of horticultural education and display and others for rest and contemplation."
- Record Uni 410 - Smithsonian Institution, Office of Public Affairs, Publicity Records, c. 1965-1974, 1987, Smithsonian Institution Archives
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