Calatrava Spire

A few days ago I shared a cold, photo of the Calatrava addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum. Since then I came across this very different take on the same topic and being a “Milwaukeephile” I decided to add this to the blog too.

The wings — which are completely closed here — move at given times during the day if the wind and weather conditions are right. One never knows for sure if the wings will be up or not, but for sure one thing will be there — that angled spire.

I have never known if Calatrava knew anything of Milwaukee history before designing this building, but I have often wondered whether Calatrava intended more in his design than many people realized. Before the addition he competed in to design the building on a site not 1/2 mile away stood one of several U.S. Army Nike Missle sites. This photo shows the site and in the background that large white building — Cudahy Towers — a building which sits just opposite the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Today’s museum would be to the right of the tall white building in the background.

Anyway…. the shape of the spire often reminds me of the days when that Nike missile site stood guard over our world — missiles armed and ready to save us from U.S.S.R. missiles raining down on Milwaukee and Chicago with nuclear warheads. Calatrava was born in Spain, a country familiar with armed struggles and the aftermath of war. I’ve never heard an official version of his influences and intention with the building but somehow the similarity it striking to me.

For more information about Calatrava check this out.