Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Nominations Open for 2021 Mayor’s Design Awards

City looking for "design excellence" across Milwaukee.

By - Feb 23rd, 2021 01:27 pm
BMO Tower at 790 N. Water St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

BMO Tower at 790 N. Water St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The call for entries is open for the 2021 Mayor’s Design Awards, the 24th annual installment.

The awards program recognizes “design excellence” in the City of Milwaukee. Eligible projects must have been completed before December 31st, 2020.

“Recipients have added value to their neighborhoods by restoring, constructing or enhancing their properties in a way that respects the urban fabric and contributes to the character of their surroundings,” says the Department of City Development in its call for nominations.

While the winning projects are often new or restored buildings, recent awards have also gone to murals, parks and businesses.

“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 Mayor Tom 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.”

Nominations are due March 31st and can be submitted online.

2020 Awards Recap

The 2020 awards 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

Play Green

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.

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.

Local Gems

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.

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.

Design Champion

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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