In a post-industrial city like Milwaukee, there are is no shortage of neglected and forgotten areas. The Inner Harbor is the most prominent brownfield in the city, located at the joining of the waters from which the city derives its name. This destination hotel at the confluence of the rivers stands as the symbol of an abandoned shipping neighborhood destined for change.
As the rest of the world suffers from drought or tidal flooding, Milwaukee sits upon the planet’s largest system of fresh water and its economy is beginning to revolve around it. As researchers of freshwater sciences and tourists alike begin to make the city the freshwater capital of the world, what does the lodging in which they will be staying look like?Formally, the building starts as a single mass which is shaped by its program and site. The hotel tower follows the property line until it reaches the river, at which moment it bends in the direction of the bridge that used to connect Bruce Street to Erie Street on the other side. The spa functions fill in the base.
The form is further refined allegorically through erosion. Board-formed concrete is the rough exterior where the original mass exists. The center of the building, at the point where the harbor meets the Milwaukee and Picnicking Rivers, is carved away to create the public swimming pool. The tower that juts into the water is cut away at the bottom, creating a picture window for the banquet hall that views the Hon Bridge and the Historical Third Ward.
There are 5 photographs in this Erosion Conference Hotel by Paul Bestul article. Follow the thumbnail below to view all 5 high-res photographs.
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