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Milwaukee Museum Of Art - Quadracci Pavilion | by Brian Callahan (
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Milwaukee Museum Of Art - Quadracci Pavilion

© Luxgnos Photography / Brian Callahan 2011 All rights reserved.


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Another in my series on this building I fell in love with. Can one fall in love with a building?


After completing the Quadracci Pavilion, Santiago Calatrava discussed how he designed the addition and sought to integrate the Museum into the urban and natural landscapes around it. The excerpts below are from his speech at the Quadracci Pavilion dedication in October 2001.

“For me, the project of expanding the Milwaukee Art Museum was an opportunity to help people make the most of an extraordinary situation.

The design did not result from a sketch. It came out of a close collaboration with the clients… who truly wanted from me the best architecture that I could do. Their ambition was to create something exceptional for their community.

Rather than just add something to the existing buildings, I also wanted to add something to the lakefront. I have therefore worked to infuse the building with a certain sensitivity to the culture of the lake—the boats, the sails and the always-changing landscape.

The extension, as such, is a kind of pavilion, transparent and light, which contrasts with the massive, compact Saarinen building. Reaching out from the Quadracci Pavilion, like an arm extended to the city, is a bridge.

Besides being a link to the city, the bridge is part of a composition. Its leaning mast conveys a sense of direction, of movement, which is taken up by the roof, the cables, and the canopies that extend on each side. These strong lines culminate in the Burke Brise Soleil, which translates their dynamism into actual motion.


I hope that… we have designed not a building, but a piece of the city.”

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Taken on November 15, 2011