R/Hdo worked with Robert Coffee Architects to complete the design of the Dorothy and Donald Kennedy Wing. The expansion project provided significant new exhibition space to the existing facility and reorganized how visitors accessed the facility and used the site.

As part of the expansion, a new parking area was located on the north side of the building and the Museum’s primary entry was relocated to Main Street. To both accommodate and emphasize this change, the sidewalk along Main Street was widened considerably and trees were planted on both sides of the walk, creating a grand promenade. Landscape beds along the street edge were planted with Phormium tenax to further separate pedestrians from the busy roadway.

The City liked the promenade concept so well that they hope to extend the improvements north to the Discovery Science Museum and south to other City attractions.
To further enhance the Museum project, two new courtyard gardens were designed as part of the expansion, as well. The Olive Courtyard features a grid of olive trees, reflecting the agricultural beginnings of Orange County, and a series of water runnels visually and acoustically animate the courtyard space. The water runnels were located along the back wall of the courtyard, enclosing the space and blocking undesirable views to the new parking area. The courtyard is intended to accommodate multiple sculptures and be used for private outdoor Museum events.

The second courtyard was designed as part of the new entry experience. A grid of Bird of Paradise and Naked Coral trees are set in perpendicular bands of decomposed granite. The intersecting grids create changing patterns as visitors walk along the Main Street promenade to the front building entry.

One of the major challenges of the project was relocating four 90-foot tall Washington Robusta palm trees that were planted during the construction of the original museum building. R/Hdo worked closely with Sienna Tree Company to develop plans and specifications to successfully move the trees and incorporate them into the final design.

Location: Santa Ana, California

Role: Landscape Architect

Architect: Robert Coffee Architects

Owner: The Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, CA

Budget: $14,000,000

Date of Completion: February 2007