Art Housing Art
Aesthetics meld with innovative engineering in the Milwaukee Art Museum expansion.
Sheila Kim -- Interior Design, 11/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
Since its inception in 1888, the Milwaukee Art Museum had amassed a collection of nearly 20,000 pieces—far too many holdings than the original museum facility could adequately house. In response, the museum embarked on a 142,000-sq.-ft. addition—the Quadracci Pavilion—beginning with the selection of Spanish-born architect Santiago Calatrava in 1994 to design the structure.
The pavilion, Calatrava's first completed building in the United States, demonstrates cutting-edge architecture from the get-go. Visitors enter a parabolic, glass-enclosed reception that soars 90 ft. high and is topped by the Burke Brise Soleil, an adjustable screen that controls heat and light in the space. Another aesthetic and engineering achievement is a 250-ft.-long pedestrian bridge featuring a cable construction in the shape of a sailboat mast inspired by the museum's waterfront location; it spans from downtown Milwaukee to the Lake Michigan front. In addition to dramatic new public spaces, the pavilion also houses galleries for special and temporary exhibitions, a 300-seat lecture hall, and café. The Quadracci Pavilion was completed in October.