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Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden Framework Projects


Playhouse & Tennis Courts

Evolving plans include expanding opportunities for people to experience and enjoy the Playhouse within the spirit of the building’s original function and architectural features. The courts may be revegetated and offer a clearing in the woods with space to accommodate a medium-sized, tented gathering.

Estimated budget: $1,600,000
Design: 2024-2025
Renovation 2026-2027

Rest House

Like the Playhouse, the Rest House is a special, sensitive building. Originally a seasonal cottage later extended and used by the Rockefellers as a daytime retreat, the building will be lightly adapted for seasonal housing for the Roc Caivano Artist in Residence program. Repairs to the exterior walls and roof are needed. Simple changes will be made to improve accessibility.

Estimated budget: $260,000
Design: 2023
Construction: 2024



Luohan Sculpture Replica

The Chinese Luohan Bhadra with Tiger Cub statue is part of the diverse collection of sculptures that is integral to the Abby Garden. The original marble sculpture dates from the Jin dynasty and is inscribed with the date 1158 AD. It was the gift and bequest of David Rockefeller Sr. to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston in 1980.

Today, a polyester replica created more than 40 years ago stands in its place at the southeast corner of the garden. The replica is badly deteriorated, discolored, and does not reflect the subtleties of the original sculpture. Commissioning a new replica true to the original using marble, will restore the original intention for this spectacular sculpture and its placement in the garden.

Estimated budget:  $75,000
Timeframe: 2023-2024


Staff Workplace & Infrastructure

Barr Hill requires essential upgrades to sewer, potable water, power, and communications, including internet access. This new below-grade distribution throughout the site will connect to the garden and to the site’s buildings — Playhouse, Rest House, and staff lunch shack.  

Fiber will also be brought along this new utility corridor, to offer a Local Area Network and WiFi to staff spaces, and direct tie-in to new security cameras recommended for particular site sculptures. Low voltage site lighting is recommended for the core areas at Barr Hill.

The existing staff breakroom and facilities in the lunch shack will be improved and expanded. Stored items will be consolidated in the cellar and in a new covered shelter north of the building, releasing space inside the building. By removing partitions and relocating the restroom, a larger breakroom with kitchenette and flexible workstations will be created. A mud room and restroom will be situated off the entrance hall, where storage closets for coats and equipment are located.

Estimated budget: $750,000
Design: 2023
Construction: 2023-2024

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