Milwaukee Art Museum, which overlooks Lake Michigan, was partially housed in
a building designed in 1957 by Eero Saarinen as a war memorial.
exhibition space was created in 1975 by David Kahlerıs addition that extends
to the waterıs edge and effectively creates a plinth on the axis of the
Saarinen-Kahler ensemble, a concrete structure with rectangular geometry, is
connected to the city by a concrete bridge.
competition brief stipulated a new grand entrance, a point of orientation
for visitors, and a redefinition of the museumıs identity through the
creation of a strong image.
proposed a pavilion-like construction, on axis with Wisconsin Avenue, the
main street of central Milwaukee. Conceived as an independent entity the
white steel-and-concrete form, reminiscent of a ship, contrasts the existing
ensemble in both geometry and materials.
directly to Wisconsin Avenue via a cable-stay footbridge, pedestrians may
cross busy Lincoln Memorial Drive on the bridge and continue into the
pavilion. Drivers enter via an underground vaulted parking garage where
pairs of canted concrete columns, down the center of the garage, form a
skeleton like series of elements shaped like the letter "V."
allows for future expansion, offset from but symmetrical to the exhibition
facilities, on the other side of the Kahler building. At shore level, the
expansion houses the atrium, gallery space for temporary exhibitions, an
education center with a 300-seat lecture hall, and a gift shop. The 100-seat
restaurant, placed at the focal point of the pavilion, commands panoramic
views onto the lake.
features a spectacular kinetic structure, a brise-soleil with louvers that
open and close like the wings of a great bird. When open the shape also
becomes a sign, set against the backdrop of the lake, to herald the
inauguration of new exhibitions. The pivot line for the slats is based on
the axis of a linear mast, inclined at 47 degrees, as a parallel to the
adjacent bridge mast.
expansion added 13,200 square meters to the existing 14,900 square meters,
including a linear glass and stainless steel wing, with lamella roof, that
is set at a right angle to Saarinenıs structure.
Milwaukee Art Museum