Milwaukee's lakefront will be heating up once again with an invitation-only architectural design competition for the proposed Pier Wisconsin building--a new home for the organization that specializes in Great Lakes and freshwater education.
The original design and location for the new Pier Wisconsin building were heavily debated over the past couple of years. The white colored sail-and-mast-like design elements were criticized for being too derrivative the neighborhing Quadracci Pavillion at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Furthermore, despite its sloping tent-like form, the 90-foot high building was criticized for obstructing views of Lake Michigan. Other design criticisms arose over public access, parking issues, and incoherent reconfiguration of the site at the end of Municipal Pier.
After local philanthropist Michael Cudahay, who was backing the project, threatened to relocate the project to other Wisconsin cities, a 30-year lease agreement was ironed out upon the understanding that the project be redesigned. In addition to aquariums, exhibits, classrooms, labs, and theater/lecture halls, the new proposal will also include a new location for the science education center, Discovery World (one of Cudahay's previous acts of philanthropy), currently located at the Milwaukee Public Museum in Downtown.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
announced today that a competition will be held in the coming weeks for a new design for Pier Wisconsin.
Read the article for more details (and check out the archived Pier Wisconsin articles in the sidebar, too): Architects to compete for Pier design - Invitations seek plans for water education facility
Pictured below are renderings and models of the old design for Pier Wisconsin, which have now been scrapped.
The site on Municipal Pier is the current home for the Pier Wisconsin group, which operates out of the old terminal of the now-defunct Milwaukee Clipper
steamship (which used to run between Milwaukee, WI and Muskegon, MI). The old terminal building will be demolished to make way for the new building. Pier Wisconsin has provided facilities to educate vistors about Great Lakes marine life and history. Recently, the group completed the Dennis Sullivan
--a replica of a Great Lakes schooner--built from scratch primarily by a group of volunteers (depicted in the renderings above).