Great gardens all contain three essential elements: plants, water, and hardscapes. Guests would experience all of these elements immediately upon entrance into the Visitor’s Center. The tilted garden, fountains and waterfalls, and the monumental steps leading to an open-air central porch, a manmade canopy of trees which serves as a gateway to the garden.
The building form, similar to the classic southern dog trot, consist of two large main floor masses, containing administrative spaces, restaurants, and a gift shop, on either side of the porch. These spaces overlook the garden and lake and provide long vistas, Below, the event hall spills out directly to formal gardens.
The building is clad in warm and natural materials, notably wood and limestone, along with large expanses of glass, connecting the interior and exterior and inviting the guests to experience both.