May 27, 2012 Mid-Century Modern

Modern Snapshot: Saarinen’s War Memorial Center

Saarinen War Memorial1

To mark Memorial Day, I thought I would highlight Eero Saarinen’s 1957 War Memorial Center in Milwaukee. The center was designed to “create a new home for two previously separate art collections and a veterans’ memorial,” according the center’s web site. “The modernist building is shaped like a floating cross, with wings cantilevered from a central base. Saarinen’s innovative design won praise for its dramatic use of space; Time magazine called it ‘one of the country’s finest examples of modern architecture put to work for civic purposes.’”

Saarinen War Memorial Center7

Saarinen War Memorial2

The western face of the building features a mural by Wisconsin artist Edmund Lewandowski, a mosaic of 1.4 million pieces of marble and glass.

Saarinen War Memorial Mural

A 1975 addition designed by David Kahler expanded the museum’s gallery space. In 2001, Santiago Calatrava’s post-modern Quadracci Pavilion opened along with the Cudahy Gardens,  a network of gardens, plazas, and fountains created by landscape architect Dan Kiley.

Saarinen War Memorial4


Dan Kiley Garden

Saarinen chair