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Discovery World, Northwestern Mutual win awards for architectural excellence

Discovery World Museum, the Northwestern Mutual Tower & Commons and an Oak Creek park pavilion are among the architectural projects honored this year by AIA Wisconsin, the state chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Milwaukee's Eppstein Uhen Architects and the Rinka design collective each won two of the eight awards announced Wednesday during a luncheon at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison. 

This year's three Honor Awards for overall architectural excellence:

  • Discovery World Museum addition and remodel, Milwaukee, designed by Eppstein Uhen Architects. This project was honored for complementing the existing museum while also protecting views of the city and lake.
  • Flat Top House, Mequon, designed by La Dallman Architects, Milwaukee. This new home, overlooking Lake Michigan and set among aspen and black locust trees, was praised for the way it engages the landscape.
  • Broadway Housing, Sacramento, Calif., designed by Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Milwaukee. The jury called this cluster of nine small homes "a great example of urban multifamily residential.”

Five projects received Merit Awards for excellence in particular aspects of design:

  • Northwestern Mutual Tower & Commons, Milwaukee, designed by Pickard Chilton, New Haven, Conn., with architect of record Kendall/Heaton Associates, Houston. The jury complimented the 32-story tower and three-story commons as "an important addition to the neighborhood and the city skyline. … It's a sophisticated project that sets a high bar for any new construction."
  • Oak Creek Lake Vista, Oak Creek, designed by Rinka, Milwaukee. This project includes a park pavilion building and two remote open-air bluff overlook shelters along a pathway connecting the bluff to the shoreline. "This project stood out because of its sensitive treatment of the landscape and the effective integration of the architecture," the jury said.
  • The Mercantile Building addition, Milwaukee, designed by Eppstein Uhen Architects. This renovation and expansion of a Historic Third Ward building includes a new rooftop deck with Lake Michigan views. "“We appreciate the way the building blends into the historic urban fabric — similar proportions without aping what was there before," the jury said.
  • The Quin, Milwaukee, designed by Rinka. The jury complimented this five-story apartment building in Walker's Point as an attractive residential addition to a warehouse-dominated neighborhood.
  • Rutgers University Chemistry and Chemical Biology Building, Piscataway, N.J., designed by Flad Architects, Madison. This glass, metal panel and terracotta structure not only houses research-driven science programs, it also serves as a new entry point to the northern edge of the campus.

The winners were selected by the jury of Chicago architects Joy Meek, Wheeler Kearns Architects; Juan Gabriel Moreno, JGMA; and Tom Zurowski, Eastlake Studio. They reviewed 60 projects submitted by AIA Wisconsin members. 

Jim Higgins
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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