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Saturday Art: Calatrava Designs

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.

In Milwaukee, WI, an amazing design inhabits the airspace, appearing to belong in space.  The Quadracci Pavilion highlights the Milwaukee Museum of Art and lends it motion as well as prestige.

The graceful Quadracci Pavilion is a sculptural, postmodern addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum completed in 2001, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. A 1975 addition had increased space five-fold, but the Museum remained hidden from public view on the lower floors of the War Memorial Center. A $10 million then-anonymous gift from Betty and Harry Quadracci kicked off a capital campaign.

In 1994, the Museum’s search committee convinced Santiago Calatrava to submit a proposal and was wowed by his creative design. Calatrava, inspired by the “dramatic, original building by Eero Saarinen, …the topography of the city” and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie-style architecture, initially proposed a small addition, with a pedestrian bridge connecting the Museum to downtown. As excitement over the project grew, fundraising accelerated and the project evolved, with the architect and Museum trustees sharing ideas.


The structure incorporates both cutting-edge technology and old-world craftsmanship. The hand-built structure was made largely by pouring concrete into one-of-a-kind wooden forms. It is a building that could have only been done in a city with Milwaukee’s strong craft tradition.

Usually, I post on things I’ve actually visited and appreciated up close and personal.  This time I still have the need to make the trip, maybe plan in a layover when I fly through Milwaukee to the East Coast.

Milwaukee isn’t just for the cheese.  . . .

Calatrava has a design in the planning stage at the Denver airport (see picture below), and I look forward to that as well.   Of course, the present Denver Airport looks to be a parade of Schmoos and I love it, but not everyone has my taste for the ridiculous.

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Ruth Calvo

Ruth Calvo

I've blogged at The Seminal for about two years, was at cabdrollery for around three. I live in N.TX., worked for Sen.Yarborough of TX after graduation from Wellesley, went on to receive award in playwriting, served on MD Arts Council after award, then managed a few campaigns in MD and served as assistant to a member of the MD House for several years, have worked in legal offices and written for magazines, now am retired but addicted to politics, and join gladly in promoting liberals and liberal policies.