Milwaukee Art Museum; Santiago Calatrava marks 20 years, iconic building

The Milwaukee Art Museum and city leaders welcomed Santiago Calatrava back to Milwaukee on Wednesday, Sept. 14 for the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Quadracci Pavilion

The pavilion was completed in 2001 and was the Spanish architect’s first project in the United States. Calatrava's visit marked the culmination of a year-long celebration of the building’s anniversary.

"Even I recognize myself in every curve," said Calatrava. "I remember every curve, every small detail was done."

Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee Art Museum

"I've always believed that art has the power to inspire and the potential to transcend," said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. "The pavilion has been a part of the cityscape for more than 20 years, and during that time, it has inspired us and it has made us proud as a community."

"It's not very often that all of us get the chance to do something that we love and to do something at our work that leaves a lasting legacy; a lasting mark on an entire community, and that's exactly what Mr. Calatrava has done," said Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson. "His work, the Quadracci Pavilion here in Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Art Museum for the last 20 years has helped to redefine Milwaukee."'

The mayor proclaimed Friday, Sept. 16 Santiago Calatrava Day throughout all of Milwaukee. 

"It’s very fitting that there are wings, wings on this building, because the work that you did, it helped to give lift to this city that is helping to launch a renaissance and a new sense of pride," said Mayor Johnson.

"I'm speechless. What should I say? Thank you," Calatrava said. "It's something completely unexpected. It is a great honor, really."

A news release from the Milwaukee Art Museum said since the pavilion’s debut, the museum has been ranked among Conde Nast Traveler's "New Wonders of the World" and lauded by People Magazine as one of the "New American Beauties" and an "instant tourist attraction." 

"I need to say, entering into the museum, it was, for me, like the opening day. It's so well-preserved, so beautifully preserved and so much care. You see, that's very important. It means respect to the work, respect to all the people who has been working here," Calatrava said.

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Milwaukee Art Museum

Santiago Calatrava Day in Milwaukee

During Wednesday's Milwaukee Art Museum news conference, Mayor Johnson proclaimed Friday, September 16, as Santiago Calatrava Day. In celebration of Santiago Calatrava Day, the public is invited to enjoy free admission to the Milwaukee Art Museum on Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.