Welcoming all guests to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
The 69,000-square-foot, LEED certified Welcome Center greets everyone who enters Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Stately walls of Echo Lake granite, chosen by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners for its warm tone and timelessness, climb skyward—warmed by light, revealing subtle color and pattern. They invite you in, creating a strong first impression and ushering you toward the Garden Pavilion and Utopia, by Jaume Plensa.
In the Garden Pavilion, angles push soaring ceilings higher, shadows softening their sharp geometry. The ceiling, finished for acoustical soundness, partially counteracts the effect of the solid stone cladding of the Utopia sculpture all around the room. The light in this space differs every moment, as the earth tilts and rotates around the sun. Clerestories pointing east and west and a skylight capture and diffuse illumination—enhancing and creating subtleties missed at first glance.
The Lack’s Inc. Information Desk, crafted with reclaimed wood from naturally fallen monkeypod trees in Costa Rica, serves as a backdrop for large floral arrangements. Its angular articulation responds to the entrances to the Garden Pavilion. The natural wood in fairly raw form brings warmth into the room while complimenting the white marble of Utopia and introduces horticulture within the central gathering space.
Notice the soft shimmer of the cool marble through which Utopia emerges. The depictions of four global citizens are intended to move beyond portraiture. Plensa’s work relates to communication, inclusiveness and human connection. The faces looming large symbolize us all in this place of community and gathering, welcoming all people.
Utopia shapes the Garden Pavilion and the Welcome Center at an unprecedented scale. Linger for a moment, before continuing on your visit. There’s much to experience, in the Welcome Center and beyond.