Posts tagged with "Wisconsin":

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Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture will keep accreditation

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has approved the Change of Control application submitted by the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. This approval recognizes the school as an independent entity from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, a condition for the school to maintain is accreditation as an institute of higher learning. With the HLC decision, the school will be able to continue its three-year Master of Architecture program. Along with the graduate program, the school offers additional educational programs, including an 8-week non-degree Immersion Program. The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture was first accredited with the HLC in 1987 as part of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and first became an accredited architecture school in 1996. The school will now begin the transition to an independent entity by August 2017. The initial application to the HLC was submitted in February 2016. While the initial application was denied, the school worked with the HLC to revise the application, which was resubmitted November 30th, 2016. "This is really a cap on a lot of changes that have already happened. This process started more than two years ago, when it became clear that the school needed to become an interdependently accredited organization. This meant we had to raise money, but it also meant that we had to do a lot of reorganization. That was a lot of what HLC was looking at," Aaron Betsky, dean of the school, told The Architect's Newspaper. "One thing I have been working on with the faculty is figuring out how to do this in such a way that we can be the best experimental architecture school in the country. Now that we have the HLC approval, we can move ahead with our plans." Architecture schools in 19 states, including Wisconsin and Arizona (where the Frank Lloyd Wright School is held), are required to hold accreditations from the HLC as well as the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). In 2010, the HLC updated its bylaws to include a provision which required all institutions of higher learning to be financially independent of any other larger institution that does not have education as its primary mission. The school’s accreditation is valid through this year, making it imperative that it proves its independence from the foundation before it expires. The school’s NAAB accreditation is valid through 2023.
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Wisconsin establishes its own Frank Lloyd Wright Trail

In honor of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th birthday, which will be on June 8th, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism has mapped a self-guided tour through nine of Wright’s most iconic built structures. Winding through nine counties, the trail starts in the southeast corner of the state and ends in the west. As a designated motor route, new signs will guide tourists across the state. The first stop along the new trail will be the SC Johnson Administration building and Research Tower. Along with the SC Johnson corporate campus, the trail takes tourists to the Johnson family home, Wingspread, which Wright completed in 1939. Heading north to Milwaukee, the trail leads to one of Wright’s six remaining American System-Built Homes, built in the nineteen-teens. The American System-Built Homes were meant to be affordable to the typical family. While 16 of these homes have been identified throughout the Midwest, a full six of them are located on Milwaukee’s South Side, along West Burnham Street and Layton Boulevard. The trail then heads east to the state capital of Madison, with its Monona Terrace and First Unitarian Society Meeting House. The Monona Terrace was first proposed by Wright in the 1930s but was not completed until 1997. The First Unitarian Society Meeting House was completed in 1951 and was the home of Wright’s own congregation. The final three stops along the trail are in the picturesque Driftless Region of the state, an area just outside of where glaciers in the last ice age stopped their southern movement. The first stop in the area is the estate Wright built for himself, Taliesin, which also features the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center. The epic 800-acre estate is nestled into a ridge, overlooking the dramatic landscape, giving it its name which means “shining brow” in Welsh. The Wyoming Valley School and Cultural Arts Center is located just three miles from Taliesin. Along with offering workshops in music, science, and painting, it also provides youth architecture workshops. The final stop on the trail is the AD German Warehouse in Richland Center. The four-story storage facility once held sugar, flour, coffee, tobacco, and other commodities. Currently, it is home to a gift shop, a small theater, and exhibit space for large murals which depict the Wright’s work. The warehouse is one of the best examples of his sculptural ornamentation, in the form of a cast concrete frieze. For more on the trail, visit TravelWisconsin.com.
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studio:indigenous wants to design architecture rooted in Native American worldviews

Chris Cornelius, founder of Milwaukee-based studio:indigenous, knew what he wanted to do when he started graduate school at the University of Virginia. His goal was no less than to develop an architecture that is based in the timeless worldviews of Native Americans. For the past decade, that goal has been unwavering, and has led to award-winning built and unbuilt work.

Cornelius is a member of the Oneida Nation, and the stories and traditions of native peoples are a key part of his identity. Every project by studio:indigenous starts with an intensive investigation of the narratives surrounding the client’s needs. Often working for Wisconsin tribes, Cornelius’s designs depart from the all-too-common iconographic motifs built on many reservations. (There is more than one turtle-shaped building in the Oneida Nation.) Rather, the work is consciously produced outside of a specific style and without direct reference to native architecture or symbolism. Instead of relying on historical sweat lodge structures for the sweat lodge-changing room at the Indian Community School of Milwaukee, Cornelius repurposed the stones that are used in the ceremonies held in the steamy sacred spaces as a base for the design. In the Oneida Veterans Memorial, on the Wisconsin Oneida Reservation, the long history of the Oneida’s service to the United States is manifest in the scaled timeline stretching though three acres of prairie grass.

“I realized at some point along this journey that I am not going to tie into anything stylistically,” said Cornelius. “I had to be able to trust myself. Most important to me, first and foremost, was to be a good architect. The Native American thing is not going to change; it’s who I am. So I have allowed my voice to express itself. That has turned into an aesthetic that is latent to the process.”

Cornelius works through complex drawings and models, producing images and forms that embody the narratives of his projects. The drawings, which have been recognized with multiple architectural and artistic awards, are intricately layered with colors, lines, and shapes. While times were slow during the recession, this drawing technique became an outlet for his continued research into articulating native narratives into formal operations. A series of drawings, entitled Radio Free Alcatraz, is a study of the Native American Occupation of Alcatraz Island in the late 1960s. A self-initiated project, Radio Free Alcatraz imagines that Native Americans never left Alcatraz and were planning to build a university on the island. Other similar projects formalize small pavilions based on the Oneida calendar.

Yet it is not only Native clients that have found value in studio:indigenous’s design approach. The focus on culture resonates with many groups that have strong cultural identities. studio:indigenous has worked with communities throughout Milwaukee, and found that the techniques translate across cultures and traditions. In every case, though, Cornelius sees the work not only as an embodiment of stories and traditions of the past, but also as the development of a contemporary story.

“The architecture is part of the current story,” Cornelius said. “What is it that we want to make or achieve? The stories haven’t necessarily changed, but the characters have.”

Indian Community School Milwaukee, WI

The true genesis of studio:indigenous came about through a collaboration with Antoine Predock for the Indian Community School, just outside of Milwaukee. Completed in 2007, the goal was to help ensure that the architecture was an accurate translation of the cultural values of the 11 Native Nations represented in the student body. The pre-kindergarten-through-eighth-grade, 150,000-square-foot school also serves as a community center for the Native American population of the Milwaukee area.

Radio Free Alcatraz San Francisco, CA

A speculative look at the occupation of Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay, Radio Free Alcatrazimagines a new Native American University, part of the occupiers’ original plan. Through complexly layered drawings, sketches, and multimedia, the speculations are put on paper to be reflected upon. Historical, contemporary, and speculative forms and information are blended together in each drawing to produce a new understanding of the island and its possibilities.

Sweat Lodge Changing Room Milwaukee, WI

Known as the “Grandfather Stone,” the Sweat Lodge Changing Room for the Indian Community School of Milwaukee takes the form of a stone used in sweat lodge rituals. The gray form is meant to appear as if it had emerged from the earth and has always been in its location.

Oneida Maple Sugar Camp Oneida, WI

“tsi? watsikhe? tu-nihe,” or “The Place Where They Make Maple Sugar,” is an 800-square-foot project designed for the Oneida Tribal School in Oneida, Wisconsin. Along with providing the infrastructure to boil maple sap down to syrup, the building is an observational device. The ventilation cone provides a view of the “seven dancers”—the Pleiades—when the constellation is directly overhead during the Midwinter Ceremony.

Moon Domicile Conceptual

The Moon Domicile series is based on the moon calendar of the Oneida Nation. Each moon cycle throughout the year is associated with a specific ceremony or ritual. Each of the domiciles is formalized through these traditions, as well as the natural weather phenomena of each time of year. The narrative surrounding the Moon Domicile is ambiguous about whether each of the small projects would be created by human, animal, or other.

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A controversial decision will allow a Wisconsin city to draw water out of Lake Michigan

Waukesha, Wisconsin, has a water problem. The deep wells of the state’s fourth largest city are tainted with radium, a naturally occurring radioactive element. With a 2018 deadline to comply with federal drinking water standards, the city is scrambling to find a sustainable, long-term source of fresh water. A recent decision will allow the city to draw its drinking water from Lake Michigan, but tapping into the Great Lakes system is complicated, both politically and ecologically.

For over a decade, Waukesha has been studying and petitioning to have the right to draw water from the lake, which is only 20 miles east of the city. Restricting the city’s access to the water is the Great Lakes Compact, a 2008 federal law that stipulates that in order to draw water from the lakes, a community must be in the Great Lakes watershed. Despite the city’s proximity to the lake, it sits just west of the Saint Lawrence River Divide, outside of the watershed.

Two governing bodies maintain the Great Lakes Compact: the Great Lakes Council in the United States and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Water Resources Regional Body in Canada. The councils, consisting of governors from eight states and two Canadian provinces, would have to unanimously approve the city’s request. After the initial application in 2010, the council and city negotiated for six years, until the councils finally approved the request this June. The approval is based on the fact that the City of Waukesha is in a county that straddles the divide and the city’s aquifers are already partially naturally replenished from within the Great Lakes watershed. The decision also requires the city to return an equal amount of clean, treated water to the lake as it draws out. Not everyone is pleased with the decision though, and legal action is already pending.

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSL Cities Initiative) has issued a formal appeal to the Compact members to reverse the decision. The GLSL Cities Initiative is comprised of over 120 Great Lakes region city mayors, and it feels that a dangerous precedent is being set by allowing water to be taken from the lakes. It is also critical of the lack of transparency in the process of approval, which it says did not involve enough input from the public or local governments. The initiative has also written to U.S. President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the International Joint Commission, claiming the decision “exceeds the scope of authority granted in the Compact.”

As it stands the Waukesha has begun the permit process to build a $207-million system of pipelines to draw and return water to the lake. The water would not come directly from the lake, but from a town near the lake. Water would be returned by way of the Lake Michigan tributary Root River.

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Frank Lloyd Wright School works towards independence from Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

The Scottsdale, Arizona–based Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture is currently working toward achieving independence from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to maintain its accreditation as an institution of higher learning.

Architecture schools are required to be accredited by both the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), usually as part of a larger university, and the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). The HLC is responsible for overseeing overall standards of degree-issuing institutions in 19 states, while NAAB is only concerned with architecture schools. In 2010, the HLC updated its bylaws forcing all institutions of higher learning to be separate from any other larger institution, which does not have education as its primary mission. The Frank Lloyd Wright School is a division of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, meaning the school is not in line with the HLC’s current policies.

In a recent decision by the HLC, the school’s application for “Change of Control, Structure, or Organization,” a requirement for its continued accreditation, was denied. Working closely with the school, the HLC has asked for an updated application by November 30, which will be reviewed at its February board meeting.

“The response from HLC was never a matter of a disagreement with what was previously submitted. In consultation with their staff, we now understand the areas where they would like to see us flesh out our previous submission,” remarked Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation president and CEO Stuart Graff in a statement to the press. Graff and school dean Aaron Betsky have met with the HLC in order to understand the commission’s concerns and recommendations for their upcoming application. Both Betsky and Graff are confident the school is on the path to accreditation as an independent institution.

 

It is important to note that the school has not lost its accreditation, which is good through 2017, but it must prove that it is independent before that accreditation expires. The HLC’s criterion for accreditation dictates that “the governing board of the institution is sufficiently autonomous” and “the institution’s resource base supports its current educational programs.” This separation from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation greatly affects the school’s funding, much of which has come from the Foundation. In 2015 the school successfully raised $2 million dollars in order to become financially independent.

The school has been an accredited institution of higher learning since 1987, and first became accredited as an architecture school in 1996. The school’s NAAB accreditation is good through 2023. The Frank Lloyd Wright School offers a three-year Master of Architecture degree, which students pursue while splitting the year between the school’s Scottsdale, Arizona, and Spring Green, Wisconsin, campuses.

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Milwaukee’s Mitchell Park Domes closed indefinitely amid safety concerns

The Mitchell Park Domes have been an iconic and well-loved part of the Milwaukee skyline for several generations.  As of February 9th, the Domes are closed to the public amidst reports of falling concrete, and their future is unknown. Built in stages between 1959 and 1967, the three domes were designed by local architect Donald Grieb, who took inspiration from a contemporary architect and engineer, Buckminster Fuller. Fuller’s office declined to partner with Grieb, noting that they did not want to alter the design of the structures they were working on. At the Mitchell Domes, Grieb made two important innovations to typical geodesic domes of the period. First, they are considered to be the first conoidal glass domes ever built – meaning they have an elongated vertical axis (140 feet in diameter and 85 feet high), making them proportionally taller than typical half-spherical domes. Second, the substructure was made of reinforced precast concrete – as opposed to bare steel or aluminum components. The domes were built in the age some important technological advancements in concrete, and one in which the likes of Le Corbusier and Eero Saarinen were creating innovative forms out of the material. The structural ribbing consists of cast on site steel reinforced concrete units. These members are welded to steel plates, also encased in concrete, which give a monolithic appearance from the inside. Over the top of each dome is a triangulated aluminum and glass skin, connected to the concrete frame by stainless steel hubs. One disadvantage of this uninsulated concrete structure is its susceptibility to water. Water working its way into cracks in concrete, corroding its steel reinforcement, has caused expansion and spalling. The glass skin on each Dome is designed to be watertight and has an internal drainage system for condensation, yet with age water has found its way into any building – through cracks in the glass and clogged drains. The Tropical Dome maintains 80 degrees and 85 percent humidity, putting the concrete at risk from the beginning. Since 1994, the domes have undergone numerous repairs and renovations. In 2008 a major renovation involved remodeling the lobby, replacement of hundreds of cracked glass panels, and the addition internal lighting that gave the structures a more defining presence at nighttime. Milwaukee County, the owner of the domes, spent $200,000 on concrete repairs in the Tropical dome between 2013 and 2014, and in 2015 had flagged another $500,000 for a structural study and to install protective nets.  Local engineering consulting firm GRAEF USA was hired to analyze the existing structure and propose a fix. The severity of the crumbling concrete led to the closing of the Arid Dome on January 28th. A week later, the County made the decision to close the domes indefinitely, until short term and long term solutions can be evaluated. According to County Executive Chris Abele, the long term recommendation is for a complete reconstruction of the three domes, at an estimated cost between $65–75 Million. The proposed short term fix involves wrapping thousands of concrete members to contain spalled concrete, which has been reported to be as large as a man’s hand. Milwaukee County has reason to take major precautions with its infrastructure. In 2010, a massive concrete slab fell from the entrance to the County-owned O’Donnell parking structure, killing a 15-year-old boy and injuring two others. The Milwaukee County Board has announced a Public Hearing on February 24th to discuss the future of the domes. In the meantime, the issue was quick to become politicized in the upcoming race for County Executive, as Chris Abele’s challenger blames him for not investing in the city’s public infrastructure.
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The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture is $2 million closer to independent incorporation

In collaboration with the Scottsdale, Arizona-based Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation (FLWF), the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture (FLWSA) has raised more than $2 million dollars from 317 contributors. To comply with new accreditation requirements, the school is in the process of becoming an independent subsidiary of the foundation. The funds are an important milestone on the FLWSA's journey towards financial stability. The FLWSA was founded by Wright in 1932 at Taliesin, his home in Spring Green, Wisconsin. The school, with a current enrollment of 19 students in its M.Arch program, is now dually located at Taliesin and Taliesin West, in Scottsdale. In 2011, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) changed its accreditation requirements, stipulating that it will no longer grant accreditation to schools which operate under umbrella institutions with "multifaceted missions." The FLWF, whose purpose is to "preserve Taliesin and Taliesin West for future generations, and enrich society through an understanding of Frank Lloyd Wright’s ideas, architecture, and design,” is helping the school on its mission. As part of the agreement, the foundation will loan the school classroom and residential facilities at Taliesin and Taliesin West. The FLWF will put $1.4 million over four years towards the operating costs of the school, in addition to a $7 million investment over the same period. FLWSA's dean, Aaron Betsky, outlined the direction the school will take: “We have been hard at work with the Foundation’s staff and Board to ensure the School’s future not just in financial and organizational terms, but also by improving its curriculum and by developing programs that continue Wright’s legacy in organic architecture and learning by doing in ways that answer to our needs for a more sustainable, open, and beautiful human-made environment.” Students will design and build desert shelters, as well as take newly added courses in digital fabrication, design, and theory. The school has a four year partnership with the mining towns of Miami and Globe, Arizona. Students will carry out community–based projects in those communities and in similar towns near Taliesin. To solidify accreditation, the foundation and the school board will prepare a "Change of Control" application for the HLC to review in June 2016. If the HLC approves, the foundation will file documents with state and federal agencies to legally recognize the school as an independent subsidiary of the foundation. If all goes smoothly, the process is expected to be complete by early 2017.
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Wisconsin’s Googie Gobbler gets grand reopening, purple vinyl and all

gobbler extior 1 After nearly 15 years sitting empty, a Googie icon of the upper Midwest is reopening—and there's no shortage of purple vinyl and rotating bars. The Gobbler Supper Club, now the Gobbler Theater, sits on a hill overlooking Interstate 94, 45 miles west of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Designed by the late southern Wisconsin architect Helmut Ajango, the Gobbler was completed in 1969. Originally made up of a supper club and motel, and built for a local turkey farmer, the domed restaurant and 49 room motel were lavishly decorated in fantastic colors and materials. Now completely refinished, the flying saucer-like structure is getting a second chance as a music venue. gobbler interior As a typology, supper clubs themselves are fairly unique to the upper Midwest. Characterized by low lit dining rooms, novel bars, and steak dinners hearty enough for hard working farmers out for a special dinner. They're usually situated in rural areas along state highways. As major social spaces, supper clubs once drew patrons from vast areas of their surrounding countryside. The Gobbler was no exception. Its pink and purple vinyl and shag carpet interior featured a rotating bar and an elevated dance floor known as the “Roost.” The motel rooms each included large heart shaped waterbeds, and round sunken bathtubs, all in bright colors with shag carpet covering the floors and walls. By 1992 the mystique of the supper club had mostly faded and the Gobbler closed permanently. The motel followed suit in 2001, and shortly after was dramatically demolished when it was used for a fire fighter training fire. With over $2 million invested in remodeling, local businessman Daniel Manesis has restored much of the character that made the Gobbler what it once was. While maintaining much of the purple tufted vinyl furniture, and saving the rotating bar, Manesis has also added state of the art sound and light systems, and stadium seating in the former dining area. Able to seat over 400 people, the venue will still have no seat farther than 55 feet from the new stage. Local residents in the neighboring town of Johnson Creek—population 3,000—are pleased with the development after years of short-lived attempts by other investors to reimagine the building. From proposed casinos and strip clubs (to be named the Gobbler-a-go-go), to failed Mexican restaurants, many feared the building would eventually be razed. Regular performances are expected to begin in late January 2016, but as a preview to the community Manesis has invited the local high school band and choir to christen the new stage with their holiday concert. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AajNoE2AqnY
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Over a quarter of the streetcar systems taking shape in the U.S. are in Midwest cities

According to the American Public Transportation Association, a public transit advocacy group, there are more than 90 cities in the United States that are actively considering implementing streetcar systems. Of those 90, over a quarter are in the Midwest. Though all in different stages of planning, development, and construction, a handful are well underway, with service beginning as early as 2016. Kansas City and Cincinnati are both in the process of live testing their newly manufactured cars, while Milwaukee debates expanding its current plans. Though hundreds of cities across the country once had streetcars, by the 1960s most had been dismantled with the rise of the private automobile and public bus systems. The current renaissance of streetcar construction is often attributed to cities interested in bolstering downtown transit options, and encouraging more ecologically sustainable modes of transportation. Downtown Kansas City, Missouri, may be the first of the new Midwest streetcar lines to open in early 2016. Dubbed the RideKC Streetcar, the light blue electric trolleys will services a 2.2-mile street along Main St. The system will have four cars running between 16 stops for 18 hours a day. Similarly to streetcars of the past, electricity will be drawn from overhead wires. Unlike past services, the new cars will be wi-fi enabled and free to ride. This first leg of construction is being positioned as a first step in a much larger plan to link the entire Kansas City region with multi-model integrated transit system. Detroit’s new streetcar system will be unique in that it was masterminded by a private non-profit organization. The M-1 Rail, to open by 2017, draws on the economic power of small and large businesses along its route, philanthropic institutions, and a close tie with city government to realize a complex funding and administrative system for the public-private venture. At one point the project was envisioned to expand to a 9 mile route, with more involvement from regional transit partnerships. After multiple feasibility studies it was found that, for economic reason, the 3.3 mile current route was more viable, with possibilities of expansion in the near future. The path to building streetcar systems is often far from smooth. With resistance from state and local governments, it took Cincinnati voters electing new city councilors and rejecting multiple anti-rail ballot initiatives to realize their new transit system. With discussions starting in earnest in 2007 and construction starting in 2012, it will be nine years in the coming when the system finally opens in September 2016. The 3.6 mile loop will service the Over the Rhine neighborhood and the downtown, highlighting the original intent of the system to encourage development in both districts. The Over the Rhine neighborhood, a member of the National Register of Historic Places, has been experiencing a renaissance in the last 10 years, after decades of struggles with crime and declining population. In the case of Milwaukee’s streetcar project, set to open in 2018, the resistance has not been coming from the government as much as from a small group of vocal opponents, who have taken issue with the $124 million project. Though, with a recent failure of a petition to stop further expansion of the already approved first leg of the system, the opposition seems to have dried up. The majority of the funding for the Milwaukee Streetcar is coming from U.S. Department of Transportation grants and Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) Districts. The city and the federal government are betting on the street car to relieve vehicle congestion and pollution while raising property values along the route. Anticipating the rail’s impact on downtown Milwaukee, a 44-story residential tower by local architects Rinka Chung is planned to begin construction in 2016. The base of the project will integrate a streetcar stop along with shopping and office programs. Though it may have been 50 years since many U.S. cities have had street cars, the next five years will see large moves to reverse that situation. Along with KC, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Detroit, St. Louis, MO, and St.Paul, MN, are making moves to implement their own streetcar systems. With the rise of the suburbs and automobile travel often being blamed for the decline of the streetcar, it would seem that this new trend might be pointing towards yet another indicator of the tendencies of contemporary city dwellers. A greater environmental consciousness, neighborhood investment, and a shifted understanding of economic stability, define the values of a young population that streetcar systems across the Midwest, and the entire country, hope to leverage into success.
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Populous unveils a swooping new arena, downtown entertainment district for the Milwaukee Bucks

Fans of Milwaukee's premier basketball franchise got a glimpse Wednesday of ambitious plans to develop up to 30 acres of land around a “futuristic” new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks. Conceptual renderings of the Milwaukee Bucks new arena, and the surrounding entertainment district, were release April 8. (Populous, HNTB, Eppstein Uhen, Milwaukee Bucks) For weeks the NBA team's imminent announcement was well-known locally, but its details only recently came into focus. Renderings of the new arena by a Populous-led design team that also includes HNTB and Eppstein Uhen Architects show a curved, asymmetrical roof sweeping over a glassy atrium with graphic detailing in the Bucks' signature green. But as eye-popping as the stadium itself are plans to develop up to 3 million square feet of office, entertainment, retail, residential, hotel, commercial space and parking structures over the next decade and a half. Along with plans to revamp the city's lakefront park and redevelop Northwestern Mutual's headquarters with a 32-story, Pelli Clarke Pelli-deigned tower, the Bucks' announcement constitutes a transformation for downtown Milwaukee. Conceptual renderings of the Milwaukee Bucks new arena, and the surrounding entertainment district, were release April 8. (Populous, HNTB, Eppstein Uhen, Milwaukee Bucks) The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel outlined what they called a "game-changing proposal":
The development would include a 700,000-square-foot, 17,000-seat arena; a 60,000-square-foot public plaza, anticipated as a sort of live entertainment space on what is largely a city-owned parking ramp at the corner of N. 4th St. and W. Highland Ave.; and arena parking across the street in the Park East area. Total amount of space just for that portion of the development: 1 million square feet.

Another surprise, sources familiar with the Bucks' plans said, is the Bucks' intention to build a state-of-the-art practice facility as soon as possible on Park East land just east of The Brewery development. The Bucks' practice facility is in leased space at the Archbishop Cousins Center in St. Francis; the team would have to buy out the lease.

The new stadium would occupy a site between Fourth Street and Sixth Street from State Street to McKinley Avenue, at the heart of a growing entertainment district north of the team's present home, the BMO Harris Bradley Center. That arena, which opened in 1988, would be demolished to make room for either a hotel, commercial space, or new offices. In a press release the Bucks' management said the new arena “will seamlessly link with active development on all sides, including Old World Third Street, Schlitz Park, The Brewery, the Milwaukee riverfront, Water Street and the Wisconsin Center.” But those plans float on unsettled budget negotiations that include up to a quarter of a billion dollars in public financing. Gov. Scott Walker initially promised $250 million in state bond money, but some members of the state legislature have balked at the amount. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett supports the plan, offering $25 million in city support, including $17 million in infrastructure improvements on and around the proposed new arena site.
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“Jock tax” could fund new stadiums for Milwaukee Bucks; Populous, HNTB, Eppstein Uhen shortlisted to design

Wisconsin's NBA team, the Milwaukee Bucks, are getting a new stadium designed either by Populous, HNTB, or Eppstein Uhen, owners announced last week. Populous is an MVP of sorts in the world of stadium design, with the 2012 London Olympic Stadium to its name. Kansas City's HNTB designed the San Francisco 49ers' new stadium. Local firm Eppstein Uhen is known around Milwaukee for their redesign of Miller Park, among other projects. Basketball fans could attend games in the new stadium as soon as fall 2017 if all goes according to plan. But the project needs money, potentially from a controversial proposal to sell $220 million in state bonds still in limbo. Bucks owners have said they will provide at least $150 million, while former owner and former Sen. Herb Kohl has pledged $100 million. But Wisconsin Governor and likely Republican presidential contender Scott Walker has faced opposition from both sides of the aisle for his proposal to finance the private construction project in part with public funds. Liberals point out his willingness to slash state funding for higher education, social services, and renewable energy programs belies his poor priorities, while the conservative group Americans for Prosperity expressed worries about the Bucks bond deal's risk to taxpayers. The new stadium, intended to prevent the Bucks from leaving Milwaukee when their contract runs out in 2017, is estimated to cost $450 million to $500 million. If the legislature approves Walker's proposal, city and county financing is likely to make up the remaining money. Walker said if the Bucks leave the state, they'd take with them millions per year in income tax collections alone, reported ESPN:
Under what Walker called a "first-of-its-kind" plan, the more than $6.5 million that's collected from taxes on the salaries of the Bucks and visiting NBA players would continue to go to the state's general fund. Walker said that figure is expected to grow due to rising salaries and revenue from the NBA's TV contracts, so any money above $6.5 million would be used to pay off the bond by 2046.
Representatives for the team have said they hope to have a plan for a new home in place within the next month. Should the project go forward (with funding from state bonds or without), the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's critic Mary Louise Schumacher calls for thoughtful design: "Nothing will define the project — and its impact on Milwaukee — like the design."
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Aaron Betsky to Head Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture

The search for a new leader of Frank Lloyd Wright's School of Architecture concluded today, as the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation named Aaron Betsky the new dean in charge of Taliesin. Betsky previously served as director of the Cincinnati Art Museum, but stepped down from that position in January 2014. He was previously the director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute, and he directed the 11th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2008. He has authored numerous books on art and architecture and continues to blog for Architect. Split between campuses in Spring Green, Wisconsin and Scottsdale, Arizona, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture is in the middle of a fundraising campaign that could decide the future of the school's accreditation. Facing new rules from the Higher Learning Commission, officials from the institution said they must raise at least $2 million before the end of 2015, or the school will lose its standing once those new rules take effect in 2017. Betsky will "set the intellectual tone or the School," according to a press release, but he will also have to help tackle the school's financial challenges. "Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture broke the box and opened vistas toward a democratic landscape; he made organic architecture and built with, rather than on, the land before anybody talked about sustainable architecture," Betsky said in a statement. "I look forward to continuing the tradition of experimental architecture he did so much to define." The future of that tradition, however, remains uncertain. In December Sean Malone, president of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, said the school would remain committed to design education even if they are no longer able to award accredited degrees after 2017. With Betsky at the helm that mission appears intact; the Foundation said they will continue to award degrees at their Taliesin East and Taliesin West campuses either way, perhaps in partnership with accredited institutions. "We wanted a bold thinker and a talented leader," Malone said in a statement, "and we found both in Aaron." Betsky, who was born in Montana but grew up in the Netherlands, succeeds Victor Sidy, who returns to his private architectural practice. Betsky assumes the role of dean immediately.