The original plans for Lakeshore State Park called for a visitor center to be built on the park at a time when funds are able to be raised to pay for the development of the facility. The visitor center would include, offices for the Park Manager and staff, public restrooms, drinking fountains, a meeting/lecture facility, exhibit space, and accommodations for boaters using the boat slips in the park’s docks.
For the past year three teams of MSOE students taking part in their senior design course, taught by professor Dr. Matthew Trussoni – Assistant Professor of Architectural Engineering and Building Construction and a contributor to UrbanMilwaukee.com, have been working with the Friends of Lakeshore State Park, to develop conceptual designs for the interpretive center. The teams were charged with designing a a small, environmentally sustainable building that could be built for under $3 million. Additional requirements included achieving LEED Platinum Certification, meeting the Living Building standard, and creating an outdoor seating area to allow for group events. It was also important that the designs produced an aesthetically pleasing building that didn’t detract from its environment while utilizing the views of the lake and downtown Milwaukee.
Each team produced designs that both met the aesthetic requirements and offered their own solutions to the environmental requirements. For example, the design by the team Superior Vision included a green roof that would be accessible to the public, and would create a unique sense of place while offering the public a new vantage point to see the city. Another team, Hybrid Development’s, proposal featured a large solar panel facility that although somewhat unusual could of acted as an educational opportunity. Team Leiap’s design included rain gardens and a deck system that attempted to create a gathering place. And all of the teams utilized a mixture of green technologies and concepts such as solar panels, gray-water systems, geo-thermal systems, day-lighting and other features as part of the designs. In additional to architectural designs the students put together construction documents, models and renderings, conducted sun studies, researched green technologies, and presented to a board for review.
Although, these are simply conceptual plans of what could become a new facility on Lakeshore State Park, they do offer possibilities and direction for what might be built.
This article originally ran on UrbanMilwaukee.com