U+ Design Partners

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Racine Art Museum

Chicago, Illinois

When we received the commission for the institution’s first purpose-designed space, we possessed a deep knowledge of both the long-distressed city it was meant to help revive and the conditions required for the display of the museum’s vast art collection. To create a new home for the collection, we re-imagined a 1960s bank building that was a composite of seven structures. An atrium lobby frames views of the lake and floods the entry area with natural light, and a grand staircase leads to the largest of the galleries, where strategic use of transparency, translucency, and opacity optimizes the viewing of art. Leaving much of the building’s existing limestone cladding in place, RAM is enveloped in translucent acrylic panels. Iridescent during the day, at night they are lighted from above and form a luminous icon on the city skyline.

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