Glass museum is key to Davenport's riverfront revival

August 11, 2010

The centerpiece of Davenport, Iowa's $114 million riverfront revitalization plan opened to much fanfare in August. Situated on the northern bank of the Mississippi River in downtown Davenport, the $46.9 million, 100,000-sf Figge Art Museum more than triples the space for Iowa's oldest art museum and serves as an "emblematic building" for the city's redeveloping waterfront, according design architect David Chipperfield, London.

The monolithic structure features a double-glass façade composed of sections of fritted glass that vary in opacity, translucence, and transparency to define each of museum's formal elements. Chipperfield says this combination of surface types will continuously transform the appearance of the façade in relation to the sun and changing cloud pattern.

Inside, the museum has a "generous" amount of exhibit space for Figge's permanent collection, as well as multi-level special exhibition galleries, a lecture hall, a library, and drawing and study studios. Public spaces include a restaurant, retail shop, and a winter garden that offers dramatic views of the river.

The city and state provided nearly $20 million for the facility as part of the River Renaissance plan, which also includes a 40,000-sf agricultural and biotech center, the restoration of Adler Theatre, restaurants, nightclubs, parking, and a cable-stayed pedestrian bridge that will connect the riverfront with downtown.

         
 

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