The project included the creation of new tree-lined parking, contemporary gardens, a promenade connecting Park and galleries, and an elliptical lawn overlooking the Park’s beautiful rolling meadow. The Museum also installed significant sculptures by Giuseppe Penone and Hank Willis Thomas in the new gardens, with others to follow. A public celebration is planned for November 6, with outdoor activities for all ages.
The Park already draws more than 150,000 annual visitors, and we anticipate welcoming many more art, nature, and recreation enthusiasts. Long-term plans for improvements include expanded trails, environmental restoration projects, and additional programs and works of art.
The manicured lawn is surrounded by a 600-foot elliptical wooden bench and a sparkling walkway with tables and chairs under red umbrellas overlooking the Park’s upper meadow. It is used for Museum and community programming, temporary public art installations, or just relaxing and playing.
This wide path connects the Museum’s galleries and Park—winding from the Plaza to the Ellipse to the smokestack, past the Wave Gardens, works of art, and long views.
Twenty mounded contemporary gardens are interlaced with paths and benches and are located along the Promenade and Blue Ridge parking. The mounds are planted with more than 150,000 varied plants, creating waves of color and texture.
Parterre Lawn and Gardens
These interior gardens connect the Ellipse and Wave Gardens to Blue Ridge Road. Two lawns, flanked by 10 raised and tilted gardens, are used for sculpture installations and events.
New Blue Ridge Parking
More than 500 new parking spaces with tree-planted islands provide the experience of arriving at the NCMA through gardens. They are convenient to both the Park and gallery buildings. The Blue Ridge North lot is closest to buildings; the South lot is closest to the smokestack, the Capital Area Greenway, and District Drive.
New Street-Front Features
The street front is newly designed with a corten steel blade, planted berm, tree-lined bike and pedestrian path, and new campus entrance at District Drive
Capital Area Greenway
Vollis Simpson's Wind Machine has been reinstalled in the Park meadow.
Bicyclists using the Reedy Creek Trail from the pedestrian bridge over the I-440 Beltline can bike the new trail past the restored Vollis Simpson sculpture Wind Machine
(recently reinstalled!) and the smokestack onto the Blue Ridge Road bike path.
• A 1,000-foot-long water quality garden catches water from parking areas and filters out pollutants through bioretention (plants); water then flows through a “dissipater,” composed of rubble from the former prison boiler house, before entering streams.
• Two large hills were built in the Park’s upper meadow from 30,000 cubic yards of soil removed from the construction site, reshaping the landscape and reducing the carbon footprint and expense of hauling it off site.
• All new lighting fixtures use energy-efficient LED.
By the Numbers
3 New grass species planted in the new Park: Weeping Love Grass (meadow planting near Promenade leading to galleries), Blonde Ambition (on berm along Blue Ridge Road), and Fountain Grass (in the Wave Gardens)
5 Soil types used (to optimize plant growth and water drainage)
25 Acres in the total project
81 New seats added. That’s 36 benches (including Ernest and Ruth, the two sculptural benches by Hank Willis Thomas) and 45 chairs and lounge seats … in addition to the 600 feet of continuous wooden bench surrounding the Ellipse!
407 Trees planted (including 118 planted by Trees Across Raleigh)
502 Spaces in Blue Ridge parking
1,855 Length, in feet, of Promenade walkway
4,734 Length, in feet, of bikeway added (including the Promenade, Greenway connector, and new bike path along Blue Ridge Road)
17,775 Total length, in feet, of gravel Wave Garden paths
25,605 Area, in square feet, of the Ellipse lawn
187,311 Individual plants planted in the new landscape, including trees and herbaceous varieties. Take our word for it or stop by and count them!