At 10:00 a.m., the engines start running, the cables tense up and the wings open. The solar light slowly penetrates the building. Then, from above, the motors stop, the wings open to their full span, comparable to the wings of a Boeing 747. It’s as if the bird is going to take off at any time.
Under the bird, where the wings open, visitors lose themselves in the immensity of Lake Michigan, a genuine interior sea that flows by the eyes. Only large bay windows separate visitors from the waves that crash against the stone parapet. The building’s floor is almost at the same level as the surface of the lake.
Behind the visitors, at the other end of the interior space and beyond the door, a long walkway leads to Wisconsin Avenue, the city’s main artery. And the city is at about the same level as the lake. In other words, the lake is connected to the city through the building.
Inside the building, visitors file past works of art in intense light and whiteness. Everything is white: ceiling, walls, and floor.
At 5:00 p.m. the engines start up, cables move and the wings close. The solar light slowly leaves the inside of the building. After a minute, the engines fall silent, the wings are closed. The bird sleeps, folded over itself.
The wings adjust to weather conditions. Naturally they have sensors.
The bird is the Burke Brise Soleil. The building is the Quadracci pavilion of the Milwaukee Art Museum, in Milwaukee.[……]