The Museum’s North Lawn is lovely, but difficult to reach. Visible from the Early Twentieth-Century Gallery bridge, and showcasing Mark di Suvero’s monumental steel sculpture Lowell’s Ocean, this pleasant swath of greenspace is currently accessible from the Museum only by climbing two sets of long, steep stairs.
Although not every area on Crystal Bridges’ grounds can be fully accessible, it seemed a shame that this large, level lawn could not be utilized and enjoyed by more Museum guests. Getting there presents a challenge, however. Considering the steep ravine that encloses the North Lawn, paved ramps are unworkable. An elevator is really the only practical solution.
A plan has been developed for construction of a north elevator tower that will be accessible from the lower north exhibition gallery (the gallery space between the stairs and the north bridge). The new elevator will carry guests down to ground level on the North Lawn and will also provide a lift up to the level of the Rock Ledge Trail.
Moshe Safdie and Associates will design the tower, integrating the structure into the existing Museum architecture through the use of shared materials such as glass and copper. The tower will also offer a nod to the natural environment of the North Lawn by including elements of natural stone. Local architects Hight Jackson and Associates, who assisted in the construction of the Frank Lloyd Wright house on the Museum grounds, will also be involved in the process, as well as Morrison-Shipley Engineers and Tatum-Smith Engineers, Inc.
“The construction of the elevator tower creates access to the largest green space on the Museum Grounds,” said Director of Operations Scott Eccleston. “Not only will our guests be able to come out here for picnics or a game of Frisbee, we will also be able to utilize the North Lawn for large outdoor events like festivals and concerts. Eventually our Special Events team will also be able to offer this space as an additional outdoor venue for private events such as parties and weddings. Our guests—all of our guests—will finally be able to enjoy all that this beautiful space has to offer.”
Guests will soon begin to see earth-moving equipment on the North Lawn, and access to the area will be prohibited during construction. But the prospect of being able to stroll about the greensward in the near future will surely LIFT your spirits…