The Milwaukee Art Museum originally took up two floors of space in a 1957 building designed by Eero Saarinen as a war memorial. Then in 1975 a larger space was created for the museum by David Kahler, who connected the building to the city with a concrete bridge. To further accommodate its needs for more space, a grander entrance and a strong image for the city, the museum sought out architects to design a new addition and settled on Santiago Calatrava in 1994. The impressive project is now called the Quadracci Pavilion, named after Betty and Harry Quadracci who kicked off the capital campaign with a $10 million donation.
Calatrava took inspiration from the nearby lake, sailboats and soaring birds to create his masterpiece, which was built next to the existing Kahler building and connects to Wisconsin Avenue via a cable-stay footbridge. The white steel and concrete building is reminiscent of a large ship about to set sail on the water and adds 13,200 square meters to the existing 14,900 square meters of exhibition space.
Photos © Timothy Hursley