Green Bay, Wisconsin
Architect: Somerville Architects & Engineers
Owner: The Automoblie Gallery
Contractor: Schuh Construction Inc.
When you’re housing a 1959 Buick Electra 225 or a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 you want simply to showcase the beauty of the vehicles, complementing the exquisite precision of their design. The Automobile Gallery does just that, seamlessly spotlighting the historic integrity of this former Cadillac dealership while modernizing its utility.
The result is an 18,060 square-foot vibrant backdrop that stuns, yet takes a back seat to the prized automobiles. It began with the rejuvenation of a building that had served as storage space for nearly two decades. The exterior’s prominent rust stains and dark bronze features belied its glory days as a flagship facility for Cadillac. Updated heating, cooling and plumbing systems are kept unobtrusive and are incorporated into the original structure, modernizing and re-energizing the building.
Part gallery, part event space, the modern and minimalist atmosphere serves both roles perfectly through design cues similar to those found at Porsche, Lamborghini and Ferrari museums around the world. The overarching theme throughout the building is secretly functional but with versatility fitting a facility with uses ranging from elegant receptions to informal parties. The gallery also houses a catering kitchen and outdoor terrace able to accommodate up to 350 guests.
Candy apple red cars stand out against the white walls and are reflected in the polished concrete floor. Chrome rims shine down from stark white lifts in a room of precisely crafted acoustics. And there is a significance behind each touch of color. Red hues woven throughout pay tribute to founder William “Red” Lewis. Brilliant red glass walls provide reference points guiding you through the gallery, where automobile artwork and a custom engine coffee table complete the look.
The upper-level executive conference room is fully loaded with a state-of-the-art meeting space sitting atop the grand gallery. The former parts mezzanine has a series of sliding glass doors overlooking the showroom. Extensive thought and planning behind even the most minute detail create a harmonious flow, maintaining the building’s original form and function but using it all in a new way, for an aesthetic that takes its cues from the machines it houses.
Photos: Ryan Photography