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2015 Commercial Design Awards

(page 5 of 7)

Milwaukee McKinley Associated Bank

Best New Retail Development

The new 2,891-square-foot Milwaukee McKinley Associated Bank not only serves more than 1,500 customers in metropolitan Milwaukee, it’s also contributing to the revitalization of a previously vacant but prominent street corner in downtown Milwaukee and improving public parkland in the process.

Known as Haymarket Square Park since the early 1900s, the site was previously a public market, but it had stood vacant for more than 30 years. The bank invested money toward the reconstruction of the park (a process that required extensive environmental remediation) in front of this branch location at McKinley Avenue and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

At just under 3,000 square feet, the building rises up as a backdrop to the newly designed Haymarket Square Park. The very concept earned it some praise from the standpoint of infill inspiration. “Activating a vacant site and contributing a public park is the definition of good urbanism,” noted one judge.

“I like the integration with the park,” said another judge. “You don’t often see that kind of thing with a bank.”

Serving as an anchor for the corner, the building represents a new direction for Associated Bank, which is developing new bank branches or renovating existing branches throughout the Midwest. The Milwaukee development’s large glass tower rises high above the entrance vestibule and creates a focal point that assists with pedestrian way-finding in an urban environment. This particular branch design incorporates illuminated green glass to create visual interest during evening hours. “The building itself is a great branding element for the bank, with the glass tower as a beacon and bright green corporate color clearly evident,” noted one judge.

On the exterior, the material palette pays respect to the industrial character of the neighborhood, but it also relies on natural tones to evoke the turn-of-the-century Haymarket community that once occupied the corner. On exterior walls, designers balanced metal panels and glass with local sandstone and wood accents.

Meanwhile, the park’s redesign incorporates various environmental features, including energy-saving LED lighting, a large bioswale to capture storm water, and photo sensors that turn lighting off during daylight hours.

CDA judges praised its sustainable lighting and storm-water features, especially in an urban context. “There is not a lot of space to do that kind of stuff,” noted one judge, “and the fact they took that into consideration is a good thing for the city.”

Project Credits

Location: 1301 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53212
Owner/Developer: Associated Bank
General Contractor: J.H. Findorff & Son Inc.
Architect/Interior Designer: Rinka Chung Architecture Inc.
Engineers: R.A. Smith National (civil and landscape); Mead & Hunt (electrical); Arnold & O’Sheridan, now part of R.A. Smith (structural, mechanical, and plumbing)
Photography: Rinka Chung Architecture
Completion Date: October 2014

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