No. 359 . 28 November 2007 
ArchitectureWeek
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Milwaukee's Urban Ecology Center

by ArchitectureWeek

The Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee simply radiates with a special kind of wholistic beauty. It's a charming, efficient, respectful, and delightful structure, and more. It's a community building whose building has helped build a community.

Designed by The Kubala Washatko Architects in relatively close collaboration with client and constructors, the four-story metal-sided timber frame building is bedecked with generous overhangs, wrap-around porches, and a large rooftop photovoltaic array. It sits at the intersection of a dense city neighborhood with several acres of once-decrepit Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park land, which the Urban Ecology Center is helping to rehabilitate.

Inside the building, the sense given by large open floors around a central brick-chimneyed atrium, exposed structure, high ceilings, and frank natural materials — including atrium balusters with bark intact — coalesces around the impression of a classic park lodge, daylit, comfortable, and rustically elegant.

In fact, the center functions in part as a kind of park lodge in the city. Specifically serving the residents in a two-mile radius around their east-side Milwaukee, Wisconsin location, the 20,000-square-foot (1,900-square-meter) Urban Ecology Center building supports a multifaceted outdoor recreation program for urban youth as well as science education, accredited research, citizen science, environmental appreciation, and green building.   >>>

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