Building a Masterpiece: Background Information

The Milwaukee Art Museum’s Santiago Calatrava–designed Quadracci Pavilion captured international attention as soon as the designs were made public in 1997. The addition opened in 2001 and was the Spanish architect’s first building in the United States. Adding more than 140,000 square feet of space to the Museum, the building stands as an architectural icon and a work of kinetic art: the Burke Brise Soleil, commonly known as the “wings,” acts as a sunshade to Windhover Hall and a sculpture itself.

The Quadracci Pavilion has garnered Milwaukee international attention and has become the symbol of the city. In the past year alone, it has been featured in the TV show American Idol, a commercial for Victoria’s Secret, and the movie Transformers 3: Dark Side of the Moon.

Find out more detailed information about the process of building the addition itself here.

Did you know that the official name of the Museum’s 2001 addition is not “The Calatrava,” but the “Quadracci Pavilion”? Many components of the building have official names, which the Museum uses to honor the donors who gave money to the project. See below for more official Museum vocabulary.

  • Windhover Hall—the main hall of the Museum, underneath the “wings”
  • Burke Brise Soleil—the famous “wings”
  • Quadracci Pavilion—the Calatrava-designed addition as a whole
  • Schroeder Galleria—the long west/city-side hallway
  • Baumgartner Galleria—the long east/lakeside hallway
  • Lubar Auditorium—the auditorium for lectures, screenings, panel discussions, and the like
  • Reiman Pedestrian Bridge—the bridge that connects the Quadracci Pavilion to East Wisconsin Avenue
  • Café Calatrava—the Museum’s restaurant