The new homes for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Milwaukee Ballet were among the projects that received the highest honor award from Wisconsin’s society of architects.
The American Institute of Architects in Wisconsin awarded four projects designed by members the group’s highest honor in its annual design awards program.
The Bradley Symphony Center of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, which was designed by Milwaukee firm Kahler Slater, opened earlier this year.
The new home for MSO musicians reimagined the former Warner Grant Theatre at 212 W. Wisconsin Ave. The project involved moving a massive wall, preserving the theater’s wall and ceiling adornments and upgrading the kitchen.
The nomination for the Bradley Symphony Center commented on the restoration of the empty vaudeville movie palace into a live music venue.
“The design concept celebrated and restored the building to its former glory, while strategically placed additions expand the guest experience and provide modern amenities,” the nomination said. “By considering reusing materials rather than demolition, the design team strategically moved a 630-ton wall in order to expand the stage. Additionally, the location of the theater helps to reenergize a portion of the city that had seen a downturn in recent years.”
MSO spent around $90 million on the project.
The Milwaukee Ballet’s Baumgartner Center for Dance is the home to the ballet’s school and academy, headquarters for staff and storage. It was designed by HGA.
The center at 128 N. Jackson St. in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward was built to fit in with the brick buildings in the warehouse district.
“The design team took a position that the structure should be of modest means, with simple but durable materials that were well-detailed,” the nomination said.
Flex House, designed by Milwaukee firm Johnsen Schmaling Architects is the only project outside Wisconsin to receive an award from the group.
The Kettle Moraine House, a private residence in Campbellsport by Johnsen Schmaling, earned an honor award.
“The main objective for the design of the family home was to allow the building―the only man-made structure within the prairie fields except for the picturesque ruins of an old barn that was intentionally preserved as a reminder of the land’s agricultural past―to virtually merge with its surroundings, minimizing its visual impact on the bucolic scenery while reinforcing the connection between inside and outside, between architecture and nature,” the nomination said.
AIA Wisconsin received 46 entries for this year’s design awards program. The awards were decided by a jury outside Wisconsin based on the design’s aesthetic components and consideration for social and environmental issues. AIA Wisconsin is a member organization.
It recognized two projects with merit awards:
- Freedom House in Green Bay designed by Berners Schober in Green Bay
- C.D. Smith Construction Headquarters in Fond du Lac designed by Kahler Slater
Two projects were honored with citation awards:
AIA Wisconsin will celebrate the winners at its first annual Design Awards Gala on Sept. 17. Tickets will go on sale on Aug. 30.