Architect and Owner: Eppstein Uhen Architects, Inc.
Contractor: Berghammer Construction Corporation
Seizing upon an opportunity to create a more meaningful connection to nearby Lake Michigan from Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward, the roof terrace provides this client a spectacular new multipurpose commons for their employees and community.
An architectural and code compliance feat, the elevated rooftop structure offers sweeping views of the Milwaukee skyline and Lake Michigan. Through numerous variances, including char testing of the building’s Douglas fir heavy timber structure, the architect was able to add a sixth floor to the historic building. The existing roof membrane was quickly peeled back, allowing steel connections to be pinned on top of existing timber columns and back to the load-bearing walls. A new steel floor level was carefully framed at approximately four feet above the existing roof decking. Exit stairs clad in muted zinc tones, and the building’s elevator, were extended to this new floor level.
To spatially lengthen the pavilion’s volume to the exterior environment, the design extends the steel roof framing to the south stair mass, separating this occupied space from existing air handling units by extending the wood slat decking up, performing dual function as an acoustical barrier.
The pavilion’s center movable glass wall and expansive glass curtainwall wrap an interior space of polished concrete with steel, warm Douglas fir decking, and flexible furnishings - providing a simple environment capable of accommodating multiple uses and needs. Integrated technology supports the multi-modal nature of the space & facilitates a seamless extension of technology to the outdoor environment. Salvaged fir beams, taken from the elevator extension Work, were ripped and fastened to a minimal steel frame on industrial casters to create a pair of large moveable tables.
Overcoming code and construction sequencing challenges, the terrace provides a beautiful gathering space - a place that supports socialization and knowledge sharing necessary to enhance the company’s vibrant culture of collaboration and community outreach.
The elegant steel and glass roof terrace quietly translates the building’s heavy timber structural system into a completely harmonious, yet modern, extension of the historic building below – all while allowing the extraordinary Lake Michigan views to take center stage.
Photos: C&N Photography