The Bud and Susie Rogers Garden is a gift to the Akron community. The garden replaced a cracked asphalt surface parking lot with a flexible, accessible, and beautiful garden that elegantly merges the region’s rich ecology with the city’s industrious heritage. The garden is a place of connection and civic pride, a visible investment in Akron that brings art to people and people to art.
The experience begins at the museum’s main entrance with a generous plaza, flanked by a raised terrace of white birches that provide shade and a sense of enclosure from the busy streets that surround the space. A wide lawn forms the next layer of the garden, providing flexibility for additional event seating, group events, and all forms of play. The team experimented with a variety of schemes to traverse the steepest part of the site’s 13-foot grade change, ultimately concluding with a simple yet provocative design: a gently climbing, crisscrossing ramp. The elevation is supported by a locking system of cor-ten steel, buried as deep as 15 feet belowground. The fully ADA-accessible solution encourages visitors to take time to appreciate the museum grounds and take in the striking views of downtown.
At the top of the ramp, the garden opens up again to a wide, welcoming space paved entirely with decomposed granite and planted with a bosque native to nearby Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Native plantings such as trees, grasses, shrubs, and wildflowers throughout the garden create a lush experience for the visitor, while the artful utilization of concrete helps to mitigate heat island effect and complements the light concrete and steel of the modern building.
The resulting landscape is an art form in and of itself—a place for the all of Akron to gather and relax, play, celebrate, and create.