In 2019, the Norton transformed 20,000 square feet of parking lot into a 37,200-square-foot garden, a major step in realizing architect Lord Norman Foster’s vision for “a museum in a garden.” The lush sub-tropical garden thrives on the south and east sides of the Museum, with outdoor sculptures on view throughout by artists including Keith Haring, Antony Gormley, Jenny Holzer, Franz West, Fernand Léger, Paul Manship, Ugo Rondinone, Joel Shapiro, and others. Many of these sculptures are recent gifts to the Norton, with a significant group generously donated by Pamela and Robert B. Goergen in 2018.
The garden exploits South Florida’s subtropical climate and outdoor lifestyle to create an extension of traditional gallery spaces via “garden rooms” that are proportioned and aligned with the strong axis of the original 1941 gallery design and brought to life by the movement of the plantings and the play of shadows.
A rich layering of plants and trees creates a backdrop for displaying sculptural works. The introduction of mature trees creates instant shade that allows a rich mix of plants to thrive and form a cooling micro-climate for visitor comfort. Contrasting leaf sizes and shapes are accented with bright, tropical red and orange flowers such as Bird of Paradise and Heliconia. White-blooming flowers such as Jasmine, Plumeria, and Brugmansia provide attractive floral scents and visual interest in the cooler evenings for outdoor functions and events. Native trees attract birds and butterflies such as the Mangrove Skipper and Baltimore Oriole, providing visitors of all ages with educational and recreational opportunities.