Catalina Island News

Construction of New Catalina Island Museum Compared to that of the Casino Building

Catalina Island Museum

For the first time since William Wrigley Jr. built the landmark Casino in 1929, a new large-scale construction project offering art and cultural opportunities for the community of Avalon is underway. Much like the Casino, the Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building of the Catalina Island Museum was conceived with permanence in mind.

Both boast large poured-in-place concrete walls and massive amounts of structural steel. But those are not the only similarities. In The Casino, the only book dedicated to the building, it is described as an exciting example of the imaginative integration of historical elements into a modern structure. The architecture of the Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building was in turn, inspired by the Casino building, early California architecture, and even Chicago’s Wrigley Field.

The sheer scale of the Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building becomes more evident as each concrete wall is poured. According to the museum’s construction team at Christopherhill Development, the finished building will contain over 5 million pounds of concrete, over 200,000 pounds of rebar, and approximately 500 pieces of structural steel columns and beams.

“The majority of the structural steel has arrived on the island and will be erected on site over the course of the next month,” said Mike Flynn, owner of Christopherhill Development. “The structural integrity and engineering of this building rivals the Casino and will provide the Catalina Island Museum a substantial home for many, many years to come.”

The museum’s staff and Board of Trustees envision that the Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building will redefine entertainment in Avalon much like the Casino did when it opened. According to the Catalina Island Museum, there will always be a reason to visit their new building. In addition to the galleries dedicated to the history of Catalina Island and special traveling exhibitions, opportunities to attend lectures, film screenings and live music will be offered each month.

“I am pleased to say the construction of our new building is moving along on schedule,” said Michael De Marsche, Executive Director of the Catalina Island Museum. “We plan to announce the grand opening date and a number of celebratory events surrounding that opening in the coming weeks.”

Designed by the architectural firm of Marengo Morton Architects of La Jolla, CA, the construction of the Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building will expand the present museum’s space by over 8,000 square feet. Exhibition space will more than double with spaces dedicated to plein air painting, Catalina Island history and special exhibitions traveling to the museum from around the world.  Amenities in the new building will include a spacious entrance lobby and visitor center, a digital theater, an atrium and sculpture garden, an expansive museum store, and a vault area dedicated to staff offices, storage and research.