The Storm King Art Center, a 500-acre open-air sculpture park in Cornwall, New York, has engaged a team of landscape architects and architects as part of a $45 million revitalization effort. In the works are a new entry sequence, an art-fabrication space, and a renewed, more sustainable landscape.
Landscape architects at Gustafson Porter + Bowman and Reed Hilderbrand and architects with heneghan peng architects and WXY architecture + urban design won the international design competition for the project and began the design process in 2018.
In the past few years, Storm King said it has drawn more visitors, likely due its vast, Covid-safe landscape. While better accommodating growth, the center seeks to preserve the serenity of its Hudson River Valley home and create more opportunities for artists.
A new entry sequence will move parking lots out of the campus and into a consolidated area at a forested edge. The idea is visitors will no longer need to navigate around vehicles once they arrive at the center, and former parking lots can now be used as platforms for more outdoor sculptures.
Entry pavilions, which will be built to handle school buses and public transportation, will orient visitors and offer gathering spaces. The structures will be designed to blend into the landscape, which will be “carefully shaped and populated with native plants that intuitively guide visitors through an outdoor lobby and into the grounds,” Storm King writes.
For conservation, fabrication, and maintenance, a new building will serve as a multi-use “workshop, studio, mechanical shop, storage space, and office” designed for greater creative collaboration. Art will be fabricated on-site, creating more opportunities for emerging artists. The new buildings will also be fully electric and run on renewable energy generated on-site.
The land under the former parking lots will be returned to its natural state, as meadows in the north and south ends of the campus are extended.
“By consolidating the car parks from the meadows to the woodland fringe, we minimize the impact of vehicles on the landscape and vistas. The restored ground will provide opportunities for the reintroduction of plant communities,” said landscape architect Neil Porter, founding partner of Gustafson Porter + Bowman, in a statement.
Storm King’s diverse landscape of hay fields, meadows, wetlands, and forests, originally designed by landscape architect William A. Rutherford, is “dominated by native species,” including 100 acres of meadows grasses. The landscape architecture team plans on adding 650 trees to increase biodiversity and provide more shade.
“We thought deeply about how to make the woods, wetlands, and overall biodiversity of the grounds a more inherent and exciting part of the experience, especially how it can support people’s encounters with the art,” said Beka Sturges, ASLA, principal at Reed Hilderbrand. “This includes planning for greater diversity of plant species — varying heights, textures, shapes, and groupings, which reward intimate viewings as well as long views.”
The surrounding community of Cornwall and Orange County, New York also expect to see benefits, as does New York state, which contributed $2.6 million to the project. Joshua Wojehowski, Cornwall Town Supervisor, said: “the project supports the town and region by providing more opportunities for residents, schoolchildren, and artists, and it protects wildlife and plant diversity as a land corridor between public parks.”