In building the underground garage for the new expansion to Milwaukee's art museum, contractor C.G. Schmidt is using some sophisticated forming techniques. Designed by Spanish-born architect-engineer-sculptor Santiago Calatrava, the art museum expansion will rest on Lake Michigan's shoreline. To avoid obstructing the view of the lake from a park above the museum, Calatrava kept the museum's exhibit area low, letting it rise over the museum's underground parking garage like a wave rolling in from the lake. This long, low hall connects the reception pavilion to the south to the original museum building to the north. It is here, during the last several months, where C.G. Schmidt has been busy casting curved concrete walls and sweeping arched beams.
Calatrava's striking design poses some unique concrete forming challenges. "There is really not a straight wall in the building," says Dave Scritsmier, construction manager for C.G. Schmidt's concrete division. "So the ability to adjust the radius was a key element in choosing the type of formwork." C.G. Schmidt decided to use Runoflex forms manufactured by Peri Formwork Systems Inc. because "you can bend them into a radius by adjusting bolts on the back," says Scritsmier.