The Milwaukee Art Museum is currently in the finishing stages of an ambitious 5-year, 140,000-square-foot expansion and renovation project.

Have you ever been to a museum whose architectural structures and materials impressed you just as much as its paintings and sculptures? The Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM), located in downtown Milwaukee on the Lake Michigan shore, is transforming into such a place. Milwaukee's "masterpiece on the lakefront"

During initial planning, the building's unique design and choice of materials left the architect and builder with a major challenge--how to keep museum guests warm. Visitors would be positioned between two beautiful but innately cold elements: buffed, imported marble flooring and a cathedral-like ceiling made of glass. Considering Wisconsin's long winters, as well as the museum's waterfront location, cold exposure was inevitable. The structure would ultimately allow hot air to rise toward the glass ceiling, and cold air to force itself through the windows, thereby missing the level at which strolling museum-goers could enjoy the premises.

"Calatrava knew that forced air would be a problem, so he recommended radiant heating,"

Speculation is that the architectural uniqueness of the Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion, the first Calatrava building in the United States, could become a defining icon of Wisconsin. In addition to the stunning reception hall, the MAM expansion will offer museum-goers more gallery space, a 300-seat lecture hall, an expanded education center, a lakefront restaurant and gift shop, as well as underground parking.

Outside the museum, visitors will be able to enjoy views of the city and lake from the Cudahy Gardens, designed by renowned landscape architect Dan Kiley, and use the new suspended pedestrian bridge, which features a 200-foot-long angled mast and cables, and links downtown to the lakefront and museum.

"Because of the size of the job, and the exposure of serving such a fine museum, it was an honor to be a part of a project with such worldwide recognition,"