Art Museum Drops Design, Re-Hires Shields
In a remarkable turnabout, the Milwaukee Art Museum scraps its controversial design and brings back the city's leading museum architect.
In a stunning turnabout, the Milwaukee Art Museum has announced it is bringing architect Jim Shields back to design its planned addition to the museum, and has released new renderings that he has designed.
The museum had released an earlier design on April 7 and credited it to Shields, but Shields told Urban Milwaukee he had dropped out of the project back in February and that the design wasn’t his. Shields said that as MAM director Dan Keegan brought in other staff to work on the design, ”we just had some basic disagreements. It just wasn’t a good fit for me.”
The museum eventually conceded that Shields was gone from the project and there was now a different leader for the project.
But Urban Milwaukee architecture critic Tom Bamberger questioned the results, calling the revised design a huge comedown from what Shields had designed. This, he wrote, “is a monumental blunder and cannot, must not be built.”
Shields said the adjoining War Memorial was designed to have a weathered appearance to mark the passage of time, and hopes to reference that in the new addition with metals that will patina over time. Dark zinc and a naturally weathered copper are two options, he said. “We’re joining the Saarinen and Kahler buildings (War Memorial) that are supposed to show… (the)advance of time, versus the Calatrava, which is forever gleaming,” Shields said.
It’s too early to offer any judgment on the new design, other than to say it’s a very good sign that Shields is back on the job. Meantime, you’ll find the new renderings below. Your comments are welcome.