Designed by Pentagram Architects’ James Biber with his team and associate Michael Zweck-Bronner, the $75 million, 130,000 square foot museum complex showcases the history, culture, and engineering of the American icon, Harley-Davidson. The museum sits on a twenty-acre reclaimed industrial site directly across the Menomonee River from downtown Milwaukee and has been conceived as an urban factory ready-made for spontaneous motorcycle rallies. The three-building campus includes space for permanent and temporary exhibitions, the company’s archives, a restaurant and café, and a retail shop, as well as a generous amount of event and waterfront recreational space.
As well as its exhibits, the focus of this building is to communicate a distinct attitude and way of life. The 8,000 exhibits include the first Harley, dating back to 1903, a model driven by Elvis Presley from 1956, and the four meter long King Kong, which took more than 40 years to construct.
The museum’s design is an unmistakable reference to industrial architecture, as well as the clear, geometrical lighting scheme of the Selux M100 relates to the factory building’s deliberately raw design.