Project Statement Milwaukee’s Blatz Brewery, one of the city’s oldest and now defunct breweries listed on the National register of Historic Places, occupies a narrow block at the downtown’s northern periphery. Built between 1851 and 1910, the massive masonry monolith had undergone a series of additions and alterations in the 1980s to accommodate for apartments and offices but had subsequently fallen into disrepair. Working with a limited budget and within the strict parameters of the existing structure, we focused our efforts on a series of small interventions to re-imagine the building’s public sphere. A canopied street-level entrance leads into the new central lobby that bundles the main circulation spines and creates a lively interchange between offices, apartments, and newly created commercial spaces. Sliding between existing masonry columns, a narrow glowing box serves as concierge and small coffee shop. Buffered by a bamboo grove, the lobby overlooks a lower level lounge, which features a series of monumental bottle doors; depending on the doors’ position, the lounge can be used as one large open space, or divided into smaller intimate areas. An open-air roof pavilion provides a satellite amenity for all building users. Overlooking the skyline, the thin light strips lining the pavilion’s roof structure emit an enigmatic glow into Milwaukee’s dark nights, marking the urban resurgence of this downtown neighborhood.
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