Giant rocks set to roll into downtown Milwaukee as new museum
It's all happening in Milwaukee at the moment. Following the completion of the world's tallest timber tower, the always-interesting Ennead Architects has revealed design plans for an eye-catching new museum in the city that's inspired by geological formations found in Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee Public Museum is being created in collaboration with Kahler Slater, GGN, and Thinc, and will measure 200,000 sq ft (roughly 18,600 sq m), spread over five floors. Its rugged exterior will consist of three interconnected concrete and glass sections, which will be softened by some greenery on the outside.
"The team drew inspiration from the ecological histories of Milwaukee and greater Wisconsin," explained Ennead Architects. "The design of the new museum will be reminiscent of the geological formations contained within Mill Bluff State Park, emblematic of the region's diversity of landscapes formed by the movements of water through time. The building will be primarily a concrete and glass structure, with an exterior texture that will mirror the ancient sea stacks present in Mill Bluff State Park. The new museum will have rounded corners that evoke the erosion and weathering of the glacial landscapes that shaped much of Wisconsin and evolved over time."
This natural landscape theme will continue through to the interior, which is inspired by the convergence of Milwaukee's three rivers – the Milwaukee, Kinnickinnic, and Menomonee – and will feature three distinct entrances that connect to a large naturally lit atrium space.
The museum will host permanent and temporary gallery spaces, a planetarium, office, laboratory, classrooms and flexible multipurpose areas, as well as dining space, and storage areas. Additionally, bringing to mind MVRDV's mixing bowl-like art depot, visitors will get the opportunity to enjoy behind-the-scenes glimpses at objects and specimens that are typically kept concealed behind closed doors.
Elsewhere, there will be two gardens: one near the entrance to the museum and one on the rooftop, which will host native Milwaukee flora. The rooftop will also hold other permanent exhibits and a butterfly vivarium. While we've little information on potential sustainability features at this early stage, renders do show that the building will be topped by solar panels, which will reduce its draw on the grid.
The Milwaukee Public Museum is slated to break ground in late 2023 and to open sometime in 2026.
Source: Ennead Architects