GENERAL MILLS ENTRY LANDSCAPE
Minneapolis, MN (1989–1991)
The General Mills Sculpture Garden provided a new entry landscape between a parking area and the General Mills corporate headquarters designed by Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill in 1957. Amidst several sculptures sited by MVVA, an axially-direct flame-finished gray granite entry walk was directed through a landscape of short native prairie grasses and wildflowers, enclosed within a perimeter grove of 162 Heritage River Birch trees. The simple walkway led to the front entrance of a crisply modern building. The sparseness of the building and walkway were complemented by the strong multi-seasonal attributes of the birch, three species of native grasses (Prairie Dropseed, Little Bluestem, and Pennsylvania Sedge) and three species of wildflowers (Wild Lupine, Butterfly Weed, and Rough Blazing Star). The ecologically rich plant palette presented a relatively uniform and symmetrical field of color and texture that nonetheless changed steadily over the course of the year. Part of the annual maintenance of the landscape included burning the meadow to encourage new growth.
A stone dust and gravel path perpendicular to the granite walk allowed access to Mel Kendrick’s sculpture and to other nearby sculpture display areas. The project's unique balance of expressive ecology and sophisticated modernist minimalism created a distinctive main entrance that reflected an era in the evolution of General Mills when openness to new ideas, innovation, and creativity were considered a priority.
The garden was demolished by the client in 2000.