While visiting my sister in Milwaukee, I decided to check out the Quadracci Pavilion, a wonderful, sculptural building incorporated into the existing Milwaukee Art Museum in 2001. I’d seen pictures, but nothing compared to seeing in person.
The Pavilion was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who was inspired by the original building by Eero Saarinen, the topography of the city, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie-style architecture.
Windhover Hall is the grand entrance hall for the Quadracci Pavilion. It’s Santiago Calatrava’s postmodern interpretation of a Gothic cathedral, complete with flying buttresses, pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and a central nave topped by a 90-foot-high glass roof.
The hall’s chancel is shaped like the prow of a ship, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking over Lake Michigan. Adjoining the central hall are two tow-arched promenades with expansive views of the lake and downtown.
The Museum’s signature wings, the Burke Brise Soleil, form a moveable sunscreen with a 217-foot wingspan. The brise soleil is made up of 72 steel fins, ranging in length from 26 to 105 feet. The entire structure weighs 90 tons. It takes 3.5 minutes for the wings to open or close. Sensors on the fins continually monitor wind speed and direction; whenever winds exceed 23 mph for more than 3 seconds, the wings close automatically. Unfortunately, the wings were closed on my visit.
Please check out my Milwaukee Art Museum set on Flickr for more photos.