Formerly known as the Bradley Sculpture Garden, the stunning Lynden Sculpture Garden officially opened on May 30th in Milwaukee, WI. Forty acres of farmland with an 1860s farm-house and barn were purchased by industrialist Harry and his wife Peg Bradley as a country getaway in 1927. Soon after, the property was named “Lynden.” Over the years the house expanded as the family and Mrs. Bradley’s art collection grew, and the property was extensively landscaped. Mrs. Bradley acquired sculpture by artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Isamu Noguchi, Mark di Suvero and Henry Moore from 1962-1978. She personally chose the sites for the work in the landscape at Lynden. After Mrs. Bradley’s death in 1978, the gardens were open on rare occasions for benefits for the Milwaukee Art Museum and small tours. Other than to art enthusiasts, the significant collection was generally a mystery.
In 2009 The Bradley Family Foundation decided to open Mrs. Bradley’s private collection with the goals of
making the sculpture collection more accessible and transforming the private estate into a cultural and educational conference center. Under the attentive guidance of Mrs. Bradley’s grandchildren David and Lynde Uihlein, the challenging project was taken on by Uihlein -Wilson Architects, Milwaukee, WI, and landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Cambridge, MA. Sustainable architecture and landscape practices were used as the project’s goal was to attain LEED certification.
“Great care was taken to blend the addition with the existing structures on site, with a goal to maintain the warm residential aesthetic with high-quality craftsmanship.” recalls Troy Wohlt of Uilhein Wilson. The exterior of the new addition is traditional cementious stucco blended to match the untouched existing exteriors of the barn and home. The entire structure was re-roofed with traditional cedar shakes. Brass Light Gallery Exterior Lanterns were chosen for their residential feel and commercial grade construction.
Chicago landscape architects William Langford and Theodore Moreau transformed the farm fields into an English Country garden with rolling hills, a lake and a rustic bridge in the late 1920s. Nearly 4000 trees including elms, pines, maples, birch and Kentucky coffee trees were planted on the grounds over the years. Considerable care was taken not to stress the mature trees during the project. “Maintaining the one-of-a-kind landscape, while introducing native plants, water retention basins and a pervious parking lot was handled beautifully by landscape architects at Michael Van Valenburgh Associates.” says Wohlt.
“We expect Lynden will become a resource for the entire community and a place that people will return frequently, whether it’s for a picnic on a Wednesday evening, a visit to one of our changing exhibitions or educational programs, or simply enjoy the beauty of changing seasons in the sculpture garden.” says David Uihlein.