Walker Art Center

With chunky massing and silvery, lightly crumpled aluminum cladding, Herzog & de Meuron's Walker Art Center expansion hovers over the sidewalk: a striking counterpoint to its adjoining neighbor, the center's original, decisively grounded, brick-clad structure, by Edward Larrabee Barnes. On its own, the 1971 Barnes building offered little space for public mingling outside its tranquil succession of pure, white, rectilinear galleries stepping up in a spiral. With few windows and a solidly opaque exterior, it remained architecturally quiet and self-contained. Yet as an institution, the Walker evolved into an exceptionally animated place, known for its risk-taking and discoveries of new talent. In 1988, the museum first pushed outward, creating a sculpture garden on its own grounds. But now, with Herzog & de Meuron's recent $70 million expansion -- doubling the total interior space from 130,000 to 260,000 square feet -- the container has begun to uncoil its tight spiral.

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