Milwaukee Art Museum – Quadracci Pavilion


19 February 2001.

Designed by Santiago Calatrava in 2001 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

Quadracci_Pavilion(rear) WIKIPEDIA TROVA BORDIOnce again, the Calatrava’s working method turns out to be a fascinating chimera. Once again it seems impossible to identify the genetic code of an architecture constantly hybridized by endless contamination. Whenever something interferes in the creative process and architecture becomes a vast territory to be explored. Even when it is the case of grafting a new extension onto an historical structure as the War Memorial Center, built in the second half of the fifties and designed by Eero Saarinen, architect of the second Modernism, and the Kahler Building, built in 1975 and designed by David Kahler. The addition of the Pavilion, for its extraordinary polysemy is a sort of three-dimensional musical composition with a score ranging from tonal to twelve-tone music. The Pavilion enjoys a prime location on the shore of Lake Michigan. In the very preliminary stages, Calatrava proposed the client to locate the Pavilion on the lakefront, at some distance from the War Memorial Center, thereby not coming in direct contact with the mighty, monochrome and imploded volume of the Memorial Center, while creating at the same time an element linking lake and the city.

Calatrava: “I had a client who wanted me to design the best possible architecture. The goal was to create something really great for the Milwaukee community. Thanks to this freedom, the project is fully in tune with the culture of the lake: the sailboats, the weather, the sense of movement and change. “

Split into multiple spaces, the Pavilion features a reception, auditorium, café, retail space and a 10,000-square-meter flexible area for temporary exhibitions.

The construction of the new building combines two technologies: avant-garde solutions and tradition of artisan craftsmanship. The structural components were realized using a cast in-situ construction system, thus broadly reflecting the strong artisan tradition of the Milwaukee region. Planned as an astounding element of great symbolic intensity, the mobile screen placed on top of the Pavilion can be opened up to the width of 66 meters during the day and then close at night or in case of bad weather. The zoomorphic presence in the form of sperm whale skeleton, with its huge teeth, it is an added value in Pop key. AXIM (Italcementi Group) provided special admixtures for the concrete mix designs used on this challenging project .


DESCRIPTION SHEET – Quadracci Pavilion
Client: City of Milwaukee Location: 700 North Art Museum Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53020, USA Architect: Santiago Calatrava Valls Site characteristics: The Quadracci Pavilion is part of the renovation and expansion project of the War Memorial Center historical museum located in a flat and smooth area on the waterfront of Lake Michigan on the East Side of Milwaukee. The project also includes a pedestrian bridge suspended 76 meters linking the museum and the shore of the lake to the city center and a public garden
Area: 13,196.4 m2
Construction system: The museum is dominated by a spectacular moving shutter system made up by 72 mobile steel ribs. The complex architectural volume is characterized by a strong engineering component and a careful attention to materials, as an expression of the forces traveling throughout its structure.
The challenge required the use of a concrete high mechanical strength and durability for structural elements such as foundations, columns and piers: located on the shores of Lake Michigan, the building had to withstand the harsh weather conditions of the winters of Wisconsin.
Materials: The structural complexity of the building required the use of a high performance concrete with special additives produced by Axim USA (Italcementi Group): CATEXOL 3500 N and CATEXOL 2000N water-reducing admixtures are characterized by high mechanical resistance and durability; CATEXOL 1000 SP-MN high-strength Superplastizer and CATEXOL AE 260 air-entrained concrete.
Job assignment: 1994
Start of works: 1997
End of works: 2001
The first Calatrava-designed building to be completed in the United States, the Quadracci Pavilion received the prestigious Time Magazine’s “Best of 2001”.


Santiago Calatrava The project More The  Reiman Bridge Press Review 


Photo Gallery

Drawings  of the project

The completed building  



Milwaukee Art Museum – Arts lives here Time Lapse: Burke Brise Soleil opening
YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image



Spread the word. Share this post!

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.