MVVA worked with the Menil Collection to develop a landscape framework that would structure and improve the museum’s extended campus in a residential neighborhood. Beginning with a Framework Plan and extending through several built projects, MVVA has sought to amplify core qualities of the Menil Collection, such as fluidity, openness, and unexpected juxtaposition, while ensuring the landscape's performance, experiential richness, and variety.
The Menil Gateway project was the first phase implemented. This project created a welcoming point of entry and transformed an existing, dilapidated parking lot into a lushly planted “car park.” More than 80 new trees, along with resilient groundcover and perennials, make a garden setting for parking.
Shaded pathways lead visitors toward the museum between a preserved row of mature live oaks, a swale of irises, and a newly planted understory of native chalk maples.
The second implemented project was the construction of three courtyards at the Menil Drawing Institute, a new building designed by Johnston Marklee for the study and exhibition of the Menil's renowned collection of works on paper.
MVVA’s design for the courtyards responds to the quiet eloquence of the architecture, and to inherent qualities of drawing: subtle tonality, shadow, and the relationship of form against void.
These landscapes play an important role in connecting the museum to the Drawing Institute and adding value to the site’s unique identity.