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Chazen Museum of Art

Project Name

Chazen Museum of Art

Project Status



State of Wisconsin, Division of State Facilities


  • General Contractor: J.H. Findorff & Son Inc.

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Project Description

From the AIA:

This three-story addition to the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is reverently described by the jury as a “beautiful extension of common sensibility.” The project connects seamlessly to the original museum designed by Henry Weese in 1969. The new and existing buildings unite by a bridge gallery at the third floor to create a promenade of gallery space. The addition doubles the former exhibit area, allowing much of the collection in storage to go on display. Space in the new wing includes a gallery for temporary exhibits, an area for art storage and exhibition preparation, teaching rooms and an auditorium. Taking cues from the original structure, the architect has created a fraternal twin with elegant design interpretations. This is expressed on the exterior with a limestone band that morphs from the existing bed-face stone to the delicate cupped stone of the new addition. An interior court in the new third-floor center gallery descends down the monumental stair and the space opens publically with a double-height glazed lobby. The project’s concept begins as homage to the existing building – yet, through thoughtful design, it is transformed to create new and familiar experiences for viewing art.

Jury Comment: “The architect was able to take on the iconic idea and transform it. While keeping some of the main pieces of the original art museum, it creates a totally different building that stands on its own. It is a beautiful extension of common sensibility. We also commend the architect on the superbly simple and elegant detailing throughout. The stone exterior and soffits are very well done, displaying the care and craftsmanship in the design as well as its execution by the contractor.”

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