SWAHILI MUSEUM IN MALINDI - CASE STUDY

MUSEUM OF WISCONSIN ART

The crisp, triangular geometry of the 31,000-square-foot, two-level museum moves from a glass-enclosed entrance at the
southwest corner to a wedge-resolving point at the opposite end, where a glass curtain wall reveals an interior stairwell.
Clad in custom, horizontal, modular fiber-cement panels in three shades of white, the surface of the building projects a
soft and gentle variegation of color.
Inside the entrance is a soaring multipurpose atrium and event center. A sweeping, glass-paneled grand staircase leads to
the second-level galleries, where a series of two-foot-thick partitions divide the space into five connected galleries that
progressively taper within the triangular form. Adjacent to galleries for works from the permanent collection is a gallery
for temporary exhibitions that has a balcony overlooking the atrium below.

Another renovation vs. building new
Originally located in a neoclassical building in downtown West Bend, the original museum had undergone several expansions since
being founded in 1961. HGA conducted a facility analysis and discovered each expansion had its own mechanical
system—resulting in energy inefficiencies—and no vapor barrier, resulting in humidity conditions harmful to the art. After further
space-utilization studies and cost analysis, HGA determined a new building would be more cost effective and programmatically
efficient than upgrading the existing space and integrating the various mechanical systems.
After the museum Board of Directors and staff agreed to a new structure, HGA’s design team created a package of engaging
schematic renderings that museum representatives used during community-based fundraising. The successful fundraising
campaign allowed the team to complete construction drawings and secure competitive bids in a tight economic climate, bringing
the museum in on budget.

Site location + exterior solution
HGA also reviewed, with the Board of Directors, several sites in the City of West Bend. Together they negotiated with the City for a
sliver-like, triangular site on the Milwaukee River, across from downtown
The resulting design is a triangular building on the triangular site, adjacent to a bend in the river. In correspondence with the winding
waterway, the building facade bends gently to meet the river. A series of windows opens up the triangular form, providing passersby on the river or on the street with views into the museum
At the sharp point of the structure’s triangular form, an aperture enclosed with glass offers museum visitors views up the river. The glass-enclosed area also glows at night, a beacon for arts and culture in the city.

Innovative storage for paintings
A museum’s art storage is nearly always hidden away from the public, in areas inaccessible to visitors. To expand the
potential for storytelling at MOWA, and provide visitors with the opportunity to see stored paintings on a rotating basis,
HGA designed a glass-enclosed room for work not currently on exhibition.
The glass room has 13,620 square feet of hanging space. Located between the main exhibition gallery and the collection
gallery, the room lets MOWA display additional artwork while simultaneously providing visitors a sneak peek into the
museum’s behind-the-scenes storage area. Museum employees rotate the works closest to the glass walls on a regular basis, to provide visitors with changing glimpses into artwork not currently on the museum’s walls

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