Tom Bamberger

Tom Bamberger

Tom Bamberger has won many local and national awards for his writing urban design. He is also an artist (photographer and videographer) who has work in many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York

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Recent Articles

In Public: Coakley’s Water Tower Is Pure Fun
In Public

Coakley’s Water Tower Is Pure Fun

Weak from close up, but sparkles from far away.

In Public: Northwestern Mutual Plaza Is a Triumph
In Public

Northwestern Mutual Plaza Is a Triumph

Gardens and landscaping for NM Tower and Commons create a strikingly urban campus.

In Public: Bike Boulevard a Bad Idea
In Public

Bike Boulevard a Bad Idea

Not good for bikers, and will make other streets less bike-friendly, too.

In Public: 18 Feet of Undulating Ambiguity
In Public

18 Feet of Undulating Ambiguity

You can’t wrap your mind around Tony Cragg’s downtown sculpture. Maybe you don’t need to.

In Public: Why I Fell for the Pink Lady
In Public

Why I Fell for the Pink Lady

The Lynda Benglis sculpture takes time to charm you. It’s not drive-by art.

In Public: Horse Sense
In Public

Horse Sense

Deborah Butterfield’s majestic Big Piney is one of the best sculptures on Wisconsin Avenue.

In Public: Our First Great Glassy Skyscraper
In Public

Our First Great Glassy Skyscraper

The Northwestern Mutual Tower is an architectural triumph.

Dance: Leader of the Avant Garde
Dance

Leader of the Avant Garde

Choreographer Deb Loewen seems to embrace all the creative artists and energy in town.

In Public: Design By Committee
In Public

Design By Committee

Or how Ald. Kovac and the Historic Preservation Commission bedevil architects.

In Public: The Problem Of Architecture Review Boards
In Public

The Problem Of Architecture Review Boards

All the rules for developers kill bad buildings. But do they also kill the great ones?

In Public: Hammes Building An Obvious Mistake
In Public

Hammes Building An Obvious Mistake

But is it worth fighting to stop it? Nah. Here’s why.

In Public: A Riot of Good Intentions
In Public

A Riot of Good Intentions

Or how a small city green space was killed by countless improvements.

In Public: The Plague of Boom Cars
In Public

The Plague of Boom Cars

Cars with massive music amplifiers violate noise ordinances, but rarely get stopped by police.

In Public: No, the Domes Aren’t Great Architecture
In Public

No, the Domes Aren’t Great Architecture

Beloved perhaps. But let’s be honest about their kitschy design.

In Public: A Simple Plan for Urban Spaces
In Public

A Simple Plan for Urban Spaces

Movable chairs have been a hit elsewhere. Why not in Milwaukee?

In Public: Bucks Arena Design Is Anti-Urban
In Public

Bucks Arena Design Is Anti-Urban

Its generic, well-mannered and probably won’t improve with “tweaks.”

In Public: New, Improved, 40% More Art!
In Public

New, Improved, 40% More Art!

The art museum’s new reinstallation promises much more and, alas, delivers.

In Public: Guided By the Light
In Public

Guided By the Light

Jim Shields’ iridescent addition to the Art Museum gets better the more you look at it.

In Public: The Design Competition That Wasn’t
In Public

The Design Competition That Wasn’t

Lakefront Gateway competition picked a team, not a design. So what will that mean for the lakefront?

In Public: Will Milwaukee Choose High Line’s Designer?
In Public

Will Milwaukee Choose High Line’s Designer?

James Corner is one of four finalists to create $30 million lakefront bridge. It’s a great design.

In Public: The City’s $30 Million Design Project
In Public

The City’s $30 Million Design Project

National competition for lakefront bridge could have huge impact, but city’s process raises questions.

In Public: UWM Tries To Do a Calatrava
In Public

UWM Tries To Do a Calatrava

Its new research building is a compendium of architectural elements. How do they add up?

In Public: Ordinary Beauty
In Public

Ordinary Beauty

Dohmen building’s redesign is a model for how to add value and grace while updating a 1960s creation.

In Public: The Bus Stop That Isn’t
In Public

The Bus Stop That Isn’t

The Bay View “art stop” is neither art nor a good bus stop. For one-tenth the price, the city could have done far better.

In Public: Why the Swing Park Failed
In Public

Why the Swing Park Failed

It became a comedy of errors, but raises serious questions about the city’s strategy for “creative placemaking.”

In Public: Paving the Lakefront with Concrete
In Public

Paving the Lakefront with Concrete

WisDOT deal with city will create a 10-lane roadway along the lake.

In Public: The Hotel That Isn’t There
In Public

The Hotel That Isn’t There

The downtown Marriott made so many compromises in design there's barely any left.

In Public: Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign
In Public

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

The city would be far safer if we eliminated most of the road signs.

In Public: What a Difference an Architect Makes
In Public

What a Difference an Architect Makes

Jim Shields’ new art museum design improves on his first, and saves the museum from itself.

In Public: Why the Art Museum Addition Must Not Be Built
In Public

Why the Art Museum Addition Must Not Be Built

This could be the biggest architectural mistake Milwaukee has ever made.

In Public: The Resistible Rise of Public Art
In Public

The Resistible Rise of Public Art

More and more of it is scattered about the city. But how much of it does anyone actually like? 

In Public: How Weʼve Abandoned Dan Kiley
In Public

How Weʼve Abandoned Dan Kiley

The great landscape artistʼs work for the Milwaukee Art Museum is being diminished by neglect. Part II in a series.

In Public: How We Abandoned our Landscape Art
In Public

How We Abandoned our Landscape Art

Milwaukeeʼs parks are credited to Frederick Law Olmsted but have abandoned his vision. Part I of a series.

In Public: The Space is the Place
In Public

The Space is the Place

How the owners of Comet, Hi Hat and Bel Air Cantina have changed the city.

In Public: “Wait, Wait, Wait”
In Public

“Wait, Wait, Wait”

The city’s new audio crosswalk alerts are annoying -- and potentially dangerous.

In Public: How the Moderne Lost Some of its Swagger
In Public

How the Moderne Lost Some of its Swagger

Value engineering made it stouter, but it’s still minor miracle a building this good was created.

Republican Road Rage

Republican Road Rage

Romney was the choice of exurban road warriors while slower-moving urbanites picked Obama. How we move through the world is a key difference between the parties.