5 december 1999

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Local firms are wind beneath Milwaukee Art Museum's wings - The Business Journal

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From the The Business Journal: http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/1999/12/06/focus2.html

Local firms are wind beneath Milwaukee Art Museum's wings The Business Journal - by David Schuyler Date: Sunday, December 5, 1999, 11:00pm CST

"You have a tradition of industrial manufacturing. This shows you how deeply the building has its roots in this part of the country where the manufacturing exists, and how big was my privilege to work in such an exceptional place, and my debt to all that manpower." -Santiago Calatrava, June 1999

From the beginning, Milwaukee Art Museum officials dictated that the museum's futuristic new addition would require the services of the best design, manufacturing and construction talents in the world. The design expertise hailed from Spain, in internationally renowned architect Santiago Calatrava. But many of the manufacturing and construction talents were found right here in the Milwaukee area, representing a glowing commentary on the quality of the city's manufacturing community, a museum official said. "The No. 1 priority was to find the best," said Chris Smocke, project manager for the museum addition. "Calatrava speaks in glowing terms of the level of technology to be found here." The $63 million construction phase of the project is being managed by C.G. Schmidt Inc., Milwaukee, and requires 45 major contractors and suppliers. Of those firms, 40 are locally based, Smocke said. Several area manufacturers -- including skylight manufacturer Super Sky Products Inc. in Mequon, fluid power component and control maker Oilgear Co. in Milwaukee, and metal fabricator Duwe Metal Products Inc. in Menomonee Falls -- have proven to project leaders their abilities to adapt, enhance and commit to what is perhaps the most innovative building project the city has ever seen. Others, such as Contemporary Products Inc. in Menomonee Falls, are slated to make major contributions to the structure, but have yet to finalize contracts with the museum, officials said. Contemporary Products is expected to manufacture the spun carbon fiber used in the addition's sunshade, the "brise soleil." The manufacturers have had to overcome challenges created by Calatrava's complex design, said construction manager Steve Chamberlin of C.G. Schmidt. In each case, problems are being resolved, not by incorporating fancy new materials, but by engineering skill and expertise alone.

http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/1999/12/06/focus2.html?s=print

25/07/2011


Local firms are wind beneath Milwaukee Art Museum's wings - The Business Journal

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New approach The organic lakefront addition, with its movable wings of the soaring brise soleil and its angled expanse of glass, demanded the most advanced contractors be found, Smocke said. In many cases, the job commanded an entirely new approach to manufacturing. "There is certainly no brise soleil anywhere else in the world," Smocke said. Oilgear Co. contracted with the museum to manufacture the hydraulic system that will open and close the wings of the brise soleil. While the carbon fiber comprising the brise soleil is a very light material, the stresses placed on the hydraulic system will be tremendous because of the wind, said application engineer Tim Becker. "That's probably the biggest load of all," he said. "They essentially act like wings." Because of the pressures to be placed on it, the system was likened by Becker to the hydraulics it has designed to open and close drawbridges, but the new project remains challenging, he said. "It's something that obviously hasn't been done before," said Becker. "We're kind of breaking new ground." Skylight view Super Sky Products hopes it won't be breaking anything. The skylight manufacturer is manufacturing and installing the glass skylights and peripheral glass work for the Quadracci Pavilion facing the lake. The pavilion is housed beneath an angled, curving expanse of approximately 40,000 square feet of glass, said James Roesing, president and chief executive officer of Super Sky. The complexities of the design, however, meant that contractors had to adapt to plans that were always up in the air, he said. "Normally we work from a complete set of architectural drawings," said Roesing. "You spend an inordinate amount of time on engineering." Such evolving circumstances require a great degree of cooperation between various contractors, he said. Super Sky has been able to work closely with other firms to resolve those evolving design challenges. Duwe Metal Products drew the daunting task of constructing and erecting the pedestrian bridge that links the museum addition to O'Donnell Park. The 231-foot clear span will be suspended by cables running from a 192-foot mast, said company president Richard Riedelbach. The unique shape of the bridge and the mast pose a particular problem for Duwe. The design required the firm to construct the elements from individual metal plates ranging from a quarter-inch to 4 inches thick. Some plates were as small as 2 inches square, he

http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/1999/12/06/focus2.html?s=print

25/07/2011


Local firms are wind beneath Milwaukee Art Museum's wings - The Business Journal

Pagina 3 di 3

said. Phenomenal components The company has yet to determine the number of welds the project will require, or the number of man-hours that will be needed, but Riedelbach said the figures should be "phenomenal." Duwe happened to be in a good position to take on the Calatrava project because the company was experiencing a slowdown in business at the time, Riedelbach said. As a result, the company did not need to hire any extra employees. However, the high-profile exposure surrounding the project should work in the company's favor. "In the long range, it's a very important project for the company to have in its portfolio," Riedelbach said. "It's the first bridge of Calatrava's design this country has seen." The three manufacturers each noted the high degree of cooperation exhibited by museum officials, construction managers, engineers and the architect. The highly public nature of the project and its originality is credited for instilling an aura of pride on the work site. "I think it's because of the uniqueness of the project. There never will be another project like this," said Riedelbach. "The attitude has been a partnering attitude -- that everyone has been in this for the common good."

http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/1999/12/06/focus2.html?s=print

25/07/2011


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