Racine Art Museum

Racine Art Museum in Racine, Wisconsin by Brininstool + Lynch, 2000

The following text and images are by Chicago firm Brininstool + Lynch for their Racine Art Musuem project, to be located in Racine, Wisconsin.

The design for the new museum redefines the existing structure with contemporary materials, fine detailing and spatial composition, creating an elegant, well-crafted environment for the display of two and three-dimensional art. The new facility will have nearly 40,000 square feet of usable space, including 8,500 square feet of exhibition galleries, with the remaining space being used for museum store, library and research, art storage and preparation, museum offices and various support operations.

Translucent acrylic panels will form the facade, separated from the exterior surface, allowing natural light to subtly illuminate it during the day; lighting at the of top the facade will make the building glow in the evening. A large steel frame will be placed above the entry doors, emphasizing the Main Street entrance, while promoting museum exhibitions and activities. The frame will be composed of metal screen segments with multimedia video modules mounted behind it for the display of art images and exhibition titles.

The entry screen complements the transparency of the ground floor, where views to the interior and displays can be readily seen from the surrounding street-scape, and where the museum's store will be located. Once in the museum, visitors will experience a two-story atrium that terminates at a glass curtain wall separating a large outdoor courtyard from the first floor gallery spaces, allowing an influx of natural light and giving a dramatic view to Lake Michigan. A grand stairway will lead visitors to the second floor where the largest of the exhibition galleries will be located. Those galleries, two stories in height, will be primary exhibition spaces. Also located on the second floor is an art library and research facility. The third floor will be devoted to museum offices, meeting rooms and museum support services. The entire basement will be reserved for art preparation and storage.