In terms of design and environment the Oakland Museum may be one of the most thoughtfully revolutionary structures in the world.” —Ada Louise Huxtable, New York Times architecture critic, 1969

Creative Landscaping
Rising above a spacious central courtyard, the terraced gardens and sculpture areas mirror the building’s rectilinear design. Kiley introduced plants of varying textures, sizes, and growing habits, giving the 26,400-square-foot gardens a pleasing visual interest. The courtyard and surrounding areas feature a tower­ing white alder tree, cedars, and redwoods, providing welcome shade. For the roof gardens, Kiley eloquently described his selection of plants—flowering pear trees from China, azaleas, camellias, Australian bottlebrush, olive trees—as “a lacy veil superimposed on the sur­face to complement and soften the rigid geometry of the structure.”

Striking Sculptures
The artworks on view in the gardens represent a wide variety of styles and periods. Overlooking Lake Merritt is Big Peace IV, a sunny yellow peace sign fabricated out of steel by Cuban-born art­ist Tony Labat in 2008. The top-level terrace features Homage to Charlie Parker, a large steel piece made by the renowned artist Mark di Suvero in 1977.

Reflecting Pool, Koi Pond
On OMCA's ground level is a large pool comprised of two connected ponds, one full of colorful koi and goldfish, and the other with native California fish and plants from the Sacramento-San Joaquin river delta. Bordering the pond are redwood, oak, and alder trees. The same native California plants present in the pond are also preserved inside the Gallery of California Natural Sciences, along with the same kinds of fish in the gallery's aquarium!