Graham Kilmer

About Those Parapets, Mr. Renner

Peter Renner is a no-show, Third Ward board tut tuts his 10 tentative townhouses.

By - Feb 9th, 2017 12:47 pm
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Third Ward Townhouses. Rendering by Renner Architects.

Third Ward Townhouses. Rendering by Renner Architects.

A no show by developer and architect Peter Renner meant not much could be done at yesterday’s meeting of the Third Ward Architecture Review Board. So the board tabled a proposed row of townhouses until responses can be provided to some of their design concerns.

Board members agreed the latest design proposal submitted by Renner and his firm, Renner Architects, had improved successively upon the previous two. Still, the proposed development of 10 townhouse condominiums at 610 E. Summerfest Place will need further clarification and response to some of the board’s concerns.

Most important to the board are the parapets and facade of the building.

The parapets were one facet of the design that improved with each round of review by the board, several said. But without Renner present at the meeting to comment on possible materials or hear suggestions, new ideas were moot.

And the developer has yet to submit a materials board or site plan to the review board.

Board members have suggested changes for the long, flat facade of the building. Notably, Jim Piwoni, an architect at American Design, Inc., has suggested breaking up the brick building with alternating copper cladding to add a slight step, but Renner’s response to that is unknown.

The building as currently designed is a long, three-story brick building. Downspouts between the units break up the façade slightly.

“I just think the massing of this thing is such a long, unending, unbroken massing,” said Matt Jarosz, board vice chair and a professor at UWM’s school of Architecture & Urban Design

The board was fine with a contemporary style building for the townhouses, but the developer told them he would have the most success marketing the building with a “pseudo-historic” look, Jarosz said.

The parapets serve to give the building a historic look, while the balconies add a modern touch to the structure.

“I’m trying to figure out what this building is supposed to be,” said Greg Patin, the board’s Department of Neighborhood Services’ designee and a strategic manager with the Milwaukee Department of City Development. He added that it seems like “it’s meant to look like a terminal building that was down there that was converted.”

Jarosz said the architect in him wants to make façade and parapet changes, but is worried the board is “just trying to nip around the edges” and will be “accused of being the author of an unsightly new building.”

“If this is what Peter wants to do, he’s gotta be the author of this thing.”

But the author was not there to respond.

Categories: Real Estate

8 thoughts on “About Those Parapets, Mr. Renner”

  1. judith moriarty says:

    before making comments, please read Tom Bamberger’s recent piece in UMil, about the Third Ward Architectural Design Board. I must add, it seems twisted to have architects from firms other than Peter Renner’s, make comments on what they would do to “improve” Peter’s designs. Everyone is a chef in this kitchen?

  2. judith moriarty says:

    author author. how many chefs does it take to make a building for the Third Ward.?? it seems nasty that “other architects,” those others not employed by Renner Architects, would sally forth to suggest what THEY would do to change the developer’s plans. Has the world really come to that? anyone interested in the plans should first read UrbanM’s article (Bamberger) about the Third Ward Architectural Board. Author Author.

  3. Tim says:

    Why would you have an architectural review board without an architect on the board? That’s like saying you shouldn’t have an actual chef tasting dishes on a show like ‘Top Chef’ or ‘Iron Chef’… I mean, what do they know about their profession anyway?

    Your critique makes no sense.

  4. Tim says:

    judith moriarty, I don’t know why, but this quote came to mind:

    ” There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” ”

    Isaac Asimov, Column in Newsweek (21 January 1980)

  5. judith moriarty says:

    you missed the point, the point being too many chiefs on the board. I didn’t say that the board should be without a chef. your ignorance is just as good as my knowledge. In any event, you need read, if you haven’t, Mr. Bamberger’s UM article about the snarl.

  6. Chris says:

    The real story seems to be missing. It’s easy to see the lazy, faux-historicism in the proposed design. What’s not being talked about is the terrible urbanism: a relentless onslaught of garage doors and curb cuts along the ground level. This may as well be in Pewaukee.

  7. Tim says:

    Chris, exactly.

    Two curb cuts max, using the basement as car storage. He’s trying to remake row-houses with parking, that’s fine… but don’t screw up the street in the process.

    Ugly & destroying the street for other uses, is not a recipe for long-term value… even if he walks away with a big bag with $$$ written on the side.

    In an earlier article about this project, Peter Renner himself says “We can sell these things, and my girlfriend says we need money” – http://urbanmilwaukee.com/2016/12/15/plenty-of-horne-the-return-of-condos/

    Yeah, if only there wasn’t a review board… the architect could create a masterpiece. **rolls eyes**

  8. erfling says:

    There goes Renner again. Clearly, he loves vehicles and large balconies. Those entrance canopies will not protect anyone from any weather.

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