2020 Mayor’s Design Awards Announced
23rd annual awards program goes virtual, but still finds 31 winners across the city.
The annual City of Milwaukee Mayor’s Design Awards ceremony looked a bit different in 2020. What is normally a well-attended May event at UW-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning became a late fall virtual affair due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of City Development announced the awards over the course of a week on social media instead of hosting an in-person gathering. The awards, given to projects big and small, mark the 23rd installment of a program started under Mayor John Norquist and continued under Mayor Tom Barrett.
“Design matters in cities because it is all around us. It shapes the streets and public spaces we enjoy, the neighborhoods where we live, and the ways we interact with each other,” said Barrett in announcing the 2020 awards. “Our streets and urban spaces, and the built environment that shapes them, belong to everyone. These award winning projects demonstrate respect for all Milwaukee residents.”
The awards this year were broken into six categories: Art + Space, Play Green, Old + New, Local Gems, Raise the Bar and Design Champion.
Art + Space
The following projects have found unique opportunities to contribute to the character of their neighborhoods and have made their streets and public spaces more attractive by reclaiming underused spaces engaging the public, utilizing existing infrastructure, or enhancing educational opportunities
- Harbor View Plaza – Ayres Associates and Quorum Architects / Harbor District – 600 E. Greenfield Ave.
- Uptown Pocket Park – 5527 W. North Ave.
- Kegnado at Lakefront Brewery – 1872 N. Commerce St.
- Burnham Park Alley Garage Mural Project – 1500 and 1600 blocks of S. 31st and S. 32nd streets
- Frontline Heroes – Mauricio Ramirez – 600 W. Lincoln Ave.
The following projects have demonstrated a commitment to environmental sustainability and to enhancing the quality of life in their surrounding neighborhood through the transformation of deteriorating playgrounds. The project helps connect children to greenspaces through pavement removal, green infrastructure improvements, and other educational and recreational improvements.
- Columbia Playfield – 1345 W. Columbia St.
- Hawley Environmental School Playfield – 5610 W. Wisconsin Ave.
- Longfellow Community School Playfield – 1021 S. 21st St.
- Starms Early Childhood School Playfield – 2616 W. Garfield Ave.
- Burdick School Playfield – 4348 S. Griffin Ave.
Old + New
The following projects have added value to the city by restoring or reusing their properties in a way that preserves and enhances the character of their neighborhoods and reinforces the traditional neighborhood fabric. These projects will help to preserve the city’s built environment and architectural legacy for future generations.
- Arts @ Large – The Kubala Washatko Architects – 1100 S. 5th St.
- Bachman Furniture – Schroeder and Holt Architects – 1741 W. St. Paul Ave.
- Dead Bird Brewing – American Design, Inc. – 1726 N. 5th St.
- Christopher Kidd and Associates – 422 N. 15th St.
- Milwaukee Fortress – Alexander Company – 1726 N. 1st St.
The following projects have made extraordinary contributions to the urban mixed-use environment by renovating properties for small local businesses within their neighborhoods, all while displaying excellence in design that is cohesive to their surroundings.
- Triciclo Peru – Sweet Designs – 3801 W. Vliet St.
- Zocalo Food Park – The Kubala Washatko Architects – 636 S. 6th St.
- Buckley’s Restaurant & Bar – ADK Design – 801 N. Cass St.
- Orenda Café – Continuum Architects + Planners / VIA CDC – 3514 W. National Ave.
- La Sierrita Restaurant – 2689 S. 13th St.
- Wonderland – 732 E. Burleigh St.
- Scout Gallery – Bruce Jackson Architecture / Pattee Group – 1104 W. Historic Mitchell St.
- T&T Cafe – 3528 W. Fond du Lac Ave.
- Johanna’s Cakes and Desserts Cafe – 1239 S. 11th St.
- Charles E. Fromage – Quorum Architects – 5811 W. Vliet St.
Raise the Bar
The following projects have added value to the City of Milwaukee by displaying design excellence and respecting and contributing to the urban fabric and the character of their surroundings while raising the bar for major development and contemporary architecture in the City.
- Deer District – RINKA / Milwaukee Bucks – 340 W. Highland Ave.
- Baumgartner Center for Dance – HGA / Milwaukee Ballet – 132 N. Jackson St.
- The Contour – RINKA / Joseph Property Development – 2111 E. Ivanhoe Pl.
- Urbanite – Eppstein Uhen Architects / New Land Enterprises – 1832 N. Farwell Ave.
- Vim + Vigor – JLA Architects / Milhaus Development – 926 W. Juneau Ave. and 1003 W. Winnebago St.
The design champion award marks the first time the city has given an award to a person instead of a project.
The new award went posthumously to Whitney Gould. A reporter with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for over 20 years, Gould, 76, passed away in December 2019. She ended her term with the newspaper as the architecture critic and became the most outspoken member of the City Plan Commission during her retirement.
“Whitney Gould was never shy about sharing her thoughts, and she influenced many great architectural works around Milwaukee including the Calatrava pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum and the new Discovery World,” said the city in announcing the award.
Editor’s note: If the information was available, we included the project architect and developer (if separate from the business name).
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Read more about Mayor's Design Awards here