Minneapolis to open expanded art center

March 30, 2005 at 1:31 PM

MINNEAPOLIS, March 30 (UPI) -- The Walker Art Center will open its $92 million expansion April 17, the work of two avant-garde Swiss architects, Jadques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron.

The Walker, which attracts more than 400,000 visitors a year, has had spectacular galleries added along with such amenities as a $25 million underground parking garage, a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, a WiFi networked lounge, and a flexible, hi-tech performance space. It is the first completed American museum designed by Herzog and Meuron, who designed the much-touted Tate Modern museum in London.

The original Walker center was designed in 1971 by Edward Larraabee Barnes but has long since outgrown the museum's ambitious programming, which makes it the leading art institution in the Upper Midwest. The new building adjoins Barnes' museum and is sheathed in perforated metal panels interrupted by trapezoidal windows. It takes the form of a twisted, cantilevered cube that pokes fun at the traditional boxy museum buildings.

The fund-raising efforts Kathy Halbreich, the Walker's director since 1991, has raised $87.5 million of its $92 million goal to date, a museum spokesman said.

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