The Milwaukee Art Museum is Santiago Calatrava’s first project in the United States, and the first Calatrava building I’ve experienced and photographed.
This photograph shows the dramatic Lake Michigan view from the Windhover Hall, the main reception area and Calatrava’s interpretation of a Gothic cathedral.
The design is Calatrava’s signature look, bone white sculptural forms with, in this case, a clear response to lake life and boat design with its prow of a ship like front end.
From the outside the museum has wings that resemble that of a bird or, I also see, a Concorde jet just lifting off the ground. For photographs of the exterior visit my Santiago Calatrava Gallery which includes several images of the building defining wings, the Burke Brise Soleil.
Ted Loos, a writer and Milwaukee native wrote a great piece about Calatrava and the museum for Travel + Leisure back in 2009 has some interesting quotes by the architect and illustrates the excitement the museum generated for the people of Milwaukee. It’s a short read and I recommend it.
I personally am most interested in public architecture and how buildings can define a city. By investing in architecture, a city is investing in its future, its quality of life, and most importantly, its people. Milwaukee did everything right by inviting Calatrava to design its signature lakefront building. The sculptural like museum is a remarkable example of modern day architecture and was the highlight of my trip to the city.
Nice job, Milwaukee!