Marcus Prize-Winner’s New Installation Unveiled
Tokyo-based architect Sou Fujimoto gets the $100,000 Marcus Prize and works with students to create a temporary installation at Prospect and Ogden.
Fujimoto’s work explores the “synthesis of nature and architecture,” and about 200 people descended on the vacant lot that was once the home of Layton School of Art to see what he and the UW-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning (SARUP) students had assembled.
What they saw was a series of undulating structures composed of brick, plywood, nuts, bolts and anchoring plates. Think of chains made of brick. These simple structures were anchored into the grassy field and provided an immediate draw, particularly for the children in the audience who took to them with the alacrity usually reserved for playground equipment, rather than an exercise in architectural theory.
“It’s always a good when children get involved,” opined Bob Greenstreet, the Dean of SARUP.
“It’s not just children,” corrected David Marcus, who heads the Marcus Family Foundation, the sponsors of the biennial prize. As he spoke an elderly gentleman forgot his mobility issues and bounded along one of the arches created of brick, wood and-steel. “Everybody likes it, young and old alike.”
Shortly thereafter some athletically minded visitors made some bounding leaps onto the structures, giving them a quick parkour workout, and leaving tiny hairline fractures in some of the bricks. (It’s a temporary installation, up until August.)
Among the attendees was Marsha Sehler, who works with Uihlein-Wilson Architects, and was involved in art installations along the riverwalk. She was joined by others including Sara Daleiden, a Waukesha native who has been much involved with placemaking projects in Milwaukee. She spent some of her time perched up on one of the arches chatting with Julilly Kohler, enjoying the day and the view.
Mandel gave a brief presentation. The developer was the first to be consistently active in downtown Milwaukee with his 1988 redevelopment of the Park East corridor immediately to the west of the subject property, and has continued working downtown to this day. He understands “placemaking” as an integral part of the modern urban development paradigm.
Marcus in his comments also paid tribute to the efforts of young architects like Fujimoto to create viable environments here and elsewhere.
Marcus then handed Fujimoto a check. It was not one of those giant oversized checks, but a conventional one in a business envelope. Well, it was oversized in one respect — it was for $100,000.
The award, given in conjunction with the UWM School of Architecture and Urban Planning, honors architects for their outstanding work to date—as well as their promise of greatness in the future. Half of the prize money pays for the winner to do work in collaboration with UWM faculty.
Fujimoto thanked Marcus and the others at the event, noting that when he first came to Milwaukee it was in January and “it was cold.” He’s a lot warmer now.
Correction: The original draft of his story incorrectly suggested the Marcus Prize was awarded only for the temporary installation Fujimoto helped create.