May 27, 2012 Mid-Century Modern
Modern Snapshot: Saarinen’s War Memorial Center
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.’”
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.
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.