Mulva Cultural Centre by SOM

Mulva Cultural Center by SOM
Published: 24 February 2022

Poised above the riverfront in historic De Pere, Wisconsin, the elegant and inviting Mulva Cultural Centre by SOM is set to become a leading institution for civic and creative engagement in the Midwest.

Spearheaded by philanthropists and De Pere natives James J. and Miriam B. Mulva, the Centre is designed to offer world-class cultural experiences, elevating the creative and architectural landscape in the Greater Green Bay Area.

The Mulva Cultural Centre will host traveling exhibitions from leading institutions worldwide, diverse programming, and educational opportunities for people of all ages.

Located on the banks of the Fox River, the Centre provides an array of spaces that will celebrate De Pere’s vibrant creative community.

The building’s transparent facade elegantly transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces. At night, the illuminated structure will appear like a floating lantern along the river. Inside, an expansive, naturally-lit atrium spans the building’s two stories, creating opportunities for new connections between cultural programs.

A 200-seat auditorium with an LED screen, a 300-person event space, flexible exhibition spaces, classrooms, café, gift shop, public parking, and varied indoor gathering spaces will provide new venues for public engagement. An expansive outdoor terrace provides sweeping views of the river and surrounding landscape.

Supported by a cantilevering steel structural canopy and smart technology designed to maximize daylight and minimize material use and visibility, the architecture of the Centre will provide an elegant background for the institution’s diverse programming. A palette of limestone, timber, and triple insulated glass will define the space, inspired by its location adjacent to the river on the Wisconsin prairies.

Mulva Cultural Center by SOM

The surrounding landscape completes the building’s connection to the river and region, featuring a lush green space replete with locations for enjoying the surrounding context. Designed to serve the community, the landscape at the Mulva Cultural Centre incorporates pedestrian pathways and public spaces designed to increase connectivity to the site, the river, and the city.

De Pere natives James and Miriam Mulva are funding the entire $95 million project, “the single largest project that our family has ever undertaken and most likely will ever undertake,” said James Mulva, the retired chairman and CEO of Conoco Philips.

“We feel very strongly about De Pere. The project is really a giveback, a gift to the community of De Pere, greater Green Bay, and Northeastern Wisconsin.”

The goal is to open in late spring or early summer of 2023, and is expected to attract over 100,000 people each year.

SOM Architecture (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP) is providing a full suite of design services for the Mulva Cultural Centre, including architecture, interior design, structural engineering, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineering.

“We’re proud to be working with the Mulva family to realize the inaugural design of the Mulva Cultural Centre,” said Scott Duncan, SOM Design Partner. “Our design for the Mulva Cultural Centre creates a hub for the region’s creative community, bringing world-class cultural events and exhibitions to De Pere.”