pabst mansion visitor center - milwaukee, wisconsin
Located across the street from the Pabst Mansion, a popular historic house museum and important architectural landmark, the new 8,500-square foot Visitor Center and Archive will serve as the primary point of entry for mansion tours. The building will house a gallery for changing art exhibitions, classrooms, administrative offices, as well as a large event space and catering kitchen. In addition, the new facility will allow the Pabst Mansion to display – and make available for study – one of the largest brewing archives in the country.
The Visitor Center and Archive is complementary to the historic building but unapologetically contemporary, conceived as a vibrant, cultural anchor for the neighborhood in much the same way the original mansion was in its original context. Occupying a currently vacant lot, the new building will strengthen the urban fabric along Wisconsin Avenue and establish a robust street presence with a highly articulated façade featuring glass, brick, and concrete. Visitors will be guided into the building along a custom concrete wall whose formwork is based on an abstracted, defamiliarized set of decorative patterns based on the ornamental terra cotta work of the Pabst Mansion’s exterior. Inside, an open atrium will allow views from the main level into the lower level archive. The main atrium wall is lines with a 2-story tall shelving system that allows the museum’s curatorial staff to display selected artifacts.