Milwaukee's Urban Ecology Center
The Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee simply radiates with a special kind of beauty, from the inside out. 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 Kubala Washatko Architects in relatively close collaboration with client and constructors, the four-story metal-sided timber frame building, bedecked with generous overhangs, wrap-waround porches, and a large rooftop photovoltaic array, sits at the intersection of a dense city neighborhood with several acres of once-decrepit Frederick Law Olmstead-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, location, the 20,000-square-foot (1,900-square-meter) Urban Ecology Center building supports a multi-facted outdoor recreation program for urban youth as well as science education, accredited research, citizen science, environmental appreciation, and green building.
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