Santiago Calatrava Day: the Quadracci pavilion of the architect of the art museum honored on the occasion of the 20th anniversary
Completed in 2001 and considered Milwaukee’s greatest work of art, the Quadracci Pavilion was the Spanish architect’s first project in the United States. His visit marked the culmination of a year-long celebration of the building’s anniversary.
During his address, Mayor Cavalier Johnson surprised Calatrava by proclaiming Friday, September 16, 2022 Santiago Calatrava Day citywide. The memorial day was in recognition of Calatrava’s influence and importance to the city of Milwaukee.
The mayor explained how the architecture of the art museum has been used as a symbol of the city. As an icon, the structure has helped redefine its image with local residents and the world. He also thanked Calatrava and credited his work with starting the Milwaukee Renaissance.
“It’s very fitting that there are wings on this building,” Mayor Johnson said. “The work you’ve done has helped to build momentum in the city and start a renaissance. It gave us a new sense of pride in Milwaukee that has lasted 20 years. This will certainly take place over the next 20 years as well. »
“The Milwaukee Museum of Art, embodied in the timeless design of Santiago Calatrava, has established itself as a must-see destination for art and architecture, an icon for the city of Milwaukee and a touchstone of pride civic over the past two decades.” – Proclamation, City of Milwaukee
To celebrate Santiago Calatrava Day, Donna and Donald Baumgartner Director of the Milwaukee Museum of Art, Marcelle Polednik, invited the public to the museum to enjoy free admission on September 16.
In 1994, the Spanish architect, artist and engineer was chosen to design an addition to the Milwaukee Museum of Art. It was Calatrava’s first project in the United States. Construction began in 1997 and was completed four years later. The Quadracci Pavilion opened in October 2001, combining the latest technology with Milwaukee’s strong craft tradition.
Calatrava proposed a suburban type construction in the axis with Wisconsin Avenue, the main street of the city center. Designed as an independent entity, the pavilion contrasts with the existing ensemble in both geometry and materials, a white form of steel and concrete reminiscent of a ship.
“The 20th anniversary is truly a time to reflect on what this building has meant to the Milwaukee Art Museum, to our community, and to the country,” Polednik said. “In his writings on his architecture, Mr. Calatrava often considers the notion of the movement of light and space on buildings, and what emotional power this movement can have on those who have experienced these qualities firsthand. He has writes, “When a building projects lightness onto its structure, it has the ability to uplift all who encounter it.” And it’s really done that in our community.
Polednik said Milwaukee residents who entered the Quadracci Pavilion felt a sense of pride, admiration, inspiration and aspiration. The 13,197 m2 structure offers a panoramic view of the lake and houses a large reception hall, a temporary exhibition gallery, an educational center with a conference room, the 300-seat Lubar auditorium and meeting spaces.
“In 1994, when we started this process, we thought we would have a beautiful building,” Polednik added. “And at the end of the day, what we received as a gift from Mr. Calatrava was a sense of fate. A motivation. A sense of hope and aspiration for our community. A feeling of aspiration that we haven’t yet realized, but that’s the good news. This is the work of the next 20 years and beyond.
In proclaiming Santiago Calatrava Day, the City of Milwaukee recognized how, over the past two decades, Calatrava’s building has made the Milwaukee Museum of Art a preeminent destination for art and architecture, an icon for the city of Milwaukee and a touchstone of civic pride. .
“I am by no means an artist or an expert, but I have always believed that art has the power to inspire and the potential to try to transcend,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “Thus, the pavilion has been part of the urban landscape for more than 20 years. During that time, it inspired us, it made us proud as a community, and it transcended our city. And today, I think we can all agree that it’s ingrained in Milwaukee’s DNA.
To design the sculptural Quadracci Pavilion, Calatrava considered Eeron Saarinen’s original building, the city’s topography, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie style.
Since the early days of the Pavilion, the Art Museum has been ranked among Conde Nast Traveler’s “New Wonders of the World” and hailed by people magazine as one of America’s “new beauties” and an “instant tourist attraction”. With the Quadracci Pavilion, Calatrava has designed not only an internationally renowned architectural feat, but an enduring symbol of innovation, inspiration and momentum for the city of Milwaukee.
“I’m speechless. Let me say thank you, it’s something completely unexpected and it’s a great honor. As an architect who works here and there, something like this is never for me. happened,” Calatrava said. “Entering the museum was like opening day for me. It has been so beautifully preserved with so much care. It’s very important. It means respect for the work, respect for all the people who have worked here.”
Calatrava talked about walking around the building and seeing yourself in the design, remembering every curve and every little detail. Even before construction began, Calatrava fell in love with Milwaukee and people’s acceptance of him. He attributed this to the city’s unique immigration history. From this experience, he was inspired to make a permanent home for his family in America.
In May 2017, Calatrava’s “S2” sculpture was installed near the Chase Tower at Water Street and Wisconsin Avenue as part of Sculpture Milwaukee, which has exhibited artwork in downtown public spaces for several years. .
> Read: Calatrava’s sculpture and how Milwaukee street art is taking hold
Calatrava’s designs are often inspired by nature and feature a combination of organic forms and technological innovation. The Milwaukee Art Museum expansion incorporates multiple elements inspired by its lakefront location. Among the many maritime elements of the design are: movable steel shades inspired by the wings of a bird, a wired pedestrian bridge with a raised mast inspired by the shape of a sailboat and a curved single-storey gallery reminiscent of a wave.
“Instead of just adding something to the existing buildings, I also wanted to add something to the lake front. Therefore, I worked to infuse the building with a sensitivity to the culture of the lake: ships, sails and the ever-changing landscape,” Calatrava said.
He said the design of the Quadracci pavilion “responds to the culture of the lake: the sailboats, the weather, the feeling of movement and change”. And “in the crowning element of the brise soleil, the shape of the building is both formal, completing the composition; functional, controlling the level of light; symbolic, open to receive visitors, and emblematic, creating a memorable image for the Museum and the city.
After the press conference, Calatrava gave Mayor Johnson’s book as a gift. Accompanied by a personalized inscription and autograph, he illustrated on the spot a drawing of a woman releasing a bird. The book Santiago Calatrava in the Beyond Hellas Glyptothek detailed his work, and was recently published on August 25.