Institutions make millionaire investments in their artistic gardens

Galleria degli Uffizi and Storm King Art Center announce plans dedicated to protecting their gardens from climate change and modernizing

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Storm King Art Center
View from the Storm King Art Center

To maintain openwork works of art It is already a big challenge in itself, but with the worsening environmental crises on the planet, some institutions that were the main visitor center during the pandemic are pressured to review their architectural projects.

The Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence, Italy, recently unveiled an ambitious €50 million (over R$259 million) plan to renovate its Boboli Gardens within eight years. Dubbed “Boboli 2030”, the plan consists of 40 landscape redesign projects aimed at protecting the park. against the harmful effects of climate change. 

Almost half of the proposals included in the plan have been completed or are in the final stages. The other half is entirely new. Measures include upgrades to the fire prevention system at the Prato delle Colonne amphitheater – located in a wooded area vulnerable to forest fires –, equipping the park with an energy-efficient lighting system and modern video surveillance. 

The gardens designed by the Medici family were once a model for many European courts and today receive an audacious mission: “Our objective is not only to return Boboli to the glories of the times of the Medici and Lorraine dynasties, but to go further, making it the best open museum of the world”, said Eike Schmidt, director of the museum, in a press event.

The Uffizi is not the only art institution to launch initiatives in this regard recently. The Storm King Art Center open-air museum in upstate New York also announced that it is embarking on a US$45 million (over R$229 million) renovation in a move to increase biodiversity.

Storm King's president, John P. Stern, explains that the staggering increase in attendance over the last decade – from around 80,000 visitors in 2012 to nearly 222,000 last year – and projections into the future made the redesign essential.

One of the main facets of the project includes the construction of a 7,200 square foot (about 2,194 m²) building dedicated to “conservation, fabrication and maintenance”. Nora Lawrence, artistic director and chief curator at Storm King, explains that in addition to hosting artists in residence, the building will also meet a logistical demand: “There is always an active rotation of works that need different types of care, so the ability to doing some of these great conservation and maintenance projects on site will be a game changer for us and what we can offer the public.”

Other aspects of the project involve rearranging the parking lots to include more works of art, charging stations for electric vehicles, easier access for buses and dedicated parking for shared vehicles; planting of more than 600 trees to increase shade and plant biodiversity in the area; updated water management systems.

The project, which is expected to be completed in 2024, is being funded in part with a grant of US$ 2.6 million from the State of New York, US$ 2 million from Empire State Development and US$ 600,000 from the Energy Research and Development Authority of the State of New York through a program dedicated to carbon neutral development.

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