Michael Horne
Plenty of Horne

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.

By - May 9th, 2014 02:30 pm


Marcus Prize winner Sou Fujimoto, a Tokyo-based architect, was in town this week unveiling an installation at the intersection of N. Prospect and E. Ogden avenues dubbed faBRICK Pavilion.

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.

Bob Greenstreet

Bob Greenstreet

“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.

Barry Mandel walked to the event along N. Prospect Ave. accompanied by Wyman B. Winston, the executive director of WHEDA. Ald. Bob Bauman, in whose district the installation is located, took a moment to ask if proposals to turn the Germania Building into apartments still had a chance with Wynston’s agency. The answer was in the affirmative. Apartments might be great for the Germania, Bauman mused, while on the other hand, it is a perfectly functional office building as is, and there is plenty of land in the 4th aldermanic district for new housing.

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.

Sou Fujimoto

Sou Fujimoto

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.

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0 thoughts on “Plenty of Horne: Marcus Prize-Winner’s New Installation Unveiled”

  1. Jared Kraft says:

    “$100,000 to create a temporary installation” you might want to check the facts… http://www4.uwm.edu/sarup/school/unique/marcusprize/

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