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See It Now: A Boston Museum Gets a High-Design Garden

(Courtesy of Elizabeth Felicella)
Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is no slouch in the architecture department: the original turn-of-the-20th-century building was modeled after a Venetian palazzo, and its glass-walled extension, opened last year, was designed by Renzo Piano. This fall the Monks Garden, the heart of the museum’s outdoor landscape, gets an equally impressive revamp. Redesigned by Michael Van Valkenburgh (of Brooklyn Bridge Park fame), the contemplative space provides year-round interest with gray birches and paperbark maples alongside foliage plants such as ferns and hellebores. The landscape architect stayed true to Gardner’s vision for a cloistered retreat. “I realized that the Monks Garden surely did not need to take you anywhere in a functional sense,” he says. “It should be focused on a sense of internal experience.”
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