Size of Project
New Orleans, LA
The New Orleans Museum of Art
Completed in 2019
Reed Hilderbrand + Lee Ledbetter & Associates
A reinvigorated natural canvas.
Some projects are truly marvelous. But the caveat includes a weight and complexity like no other. When the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) engaged RNGD as the Design-Assist Contractor for the Sydney & Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden’s new 6.5-acre expansion, we knew that it was a singular opportunity. We would manage and produce something truly one-of-a-kind. Through this addition, NOMA looked to further its mission of increasing broad access to art and artists. It would also provide additional programming opportunities in an engaging learning environment. RNGD would lead the challenge along with the vision and design of Massachusetts-based Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architects. The complex 15-month timeline would see a variety of components, including improvements to the 11-mile long water system, installation of flowing pathways and bridges, construction of The Pavilion—a single story ellipse shaped exhibition space designed by Lee Ledbetter & Associates—and protection of the area’s wildlife. In essence, RNGD was about to cultivate and enrich a natural canvas for future community inspiration.
Reshaping the existing shoreline.
In one way or another, water is part of all RNGD’s projects. This time, it was the main player. With lagoons bordering the expansion, the RNGD team looked to enhance the spatial experience of the open water by improving the shorelines. The short timeline made plan consistency and quality control central to every component. Our team used DJI Phantom 4 Pro with Propeller Aeropoints in lieu of traditional surveying. The tool shot nearly 21 million independent points across the 6.5-acre site to provide photogrammetric models accurate to 3cm. The infrastructure team drained the lagoon into another portion of the water system and contained the rest with two aqua dams. Work on the lagoon’s revitalization involved reshaping the existing shoreline and reclaiming a portion of the lagoon to serve as an in-grade amphitheater, formed with a variety of soils. Almost 50,000 cubic yards of soil were removed and replaced with environmentally appropriate soils. But restraining water to build, comes with its own unique challenges.