General Mills Sculpture Garden
The General Mills Sculpture Garden provided a new entry landscape from a parking area to the General Mills corporate headquarters designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in 1957. Alongside one sculpture by Mel Kendrick, an axial walkway of flame-finished gray granite passed through a landscape of short native prairie grasses and wildflowers, enclosed within a perimeter grove of 162 Heritage river birch trees. The spareness of SOM’s building and walkway are 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 inspired plant palette presented a relatively even 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 artworks. The project’s unique balance of expressive ecology and sophisticated minimalism created a distinctive main entrance that reflected General Mills’ openness to innovation. The General Mills Sculpture Garden has since been removed.