Pictures: Milwaukee Bucks release new renderings of proposed arena

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The primary entrance to the arena faces a new Fourth Street public plaza and future entertainment block. A glass curtain wall maximizes transparency on the east facade to reveal a full-height atrium within. Dramatic escalators and monumental stairs carry patrons vertically while feature spaces at each level open into the atrium to further activate the space.

The primary entrance to the arena faces a new Fourth Street public plaza and future entertainment block. A glass curtain wall maximizes transparency on the east facade to reveal a full-height atrium within. Dramatic escalators and monumental stairs carry patrons vertically while feature spaces at each level open into the atrium to further activate the space.

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Bucks released on Thursday morning, March 17th new renderings of their proposed arena complex set to be built in downtown Milwaukee.

According the Bucks website, "These images reflect the plans submitted for the final stage of the design approval process with the city and local public officials before construction on the new arena can begin this summer."

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A transparent entrance lobby welcomes Bucks fans from the north and west of the arena. This public entrance utilizes similar detailing and composition to the primary entry from 4th Street, but brought down in scale to meet the street and surrounding context. The entry is framed against the backdrop of the sweeping roof form beyond, providing a welcoming presence to the corner of Sixth and Juneau.

The images of the new six-story multi-purpose venue and entertainment district illustrate the ambitious new development vision of Bucks ownership to transform 30-acres of mostly vacant land into a vibrant neighborhood activated by sports, entertainment, residential and office uses. The arena site, located between N. Fourth Street and N. Sixth Street from W. Highland Ave. to W. Juneau Ave., will seamlessly link with active development on all sides, including Old World Third Street, Schlitz Park, The Brewery, the Milwaukee riverfront, Water Street and the Wisconsin Center.

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The western approach from Juneau presents another marquee view of the crafted curves of the north façade. The depth of the zinc returns surrounding the glass ribbons come into view, adding another layer of depth to the overall form of the façade. Circumscribed in the arch of the zinc form, a multi-story glass wall provides a peek into this corner of the arena activity. At the near corner, a secondary public point of entry meets pedestrian traffic coming from the north and west. The Sixth Street frontage is a low scale, modulated composition of brick and profiled panels, accented by green screen elements and landscaping buffering the street edge.

The exterior design for the new arena is inspired by Milwaukee’s proud architectural heritage and bold outlook, coupled with the region’s natural environment of rivers, lakes and forests. The hand-crafted zinc patina exterior, punctuated by nodes of glass to highlight activity within, will create an iconic architectural image that will anchor the surrounding development.

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The Juneau Avenue frontage offers a particularly dynamic view of the arena as the extension of the arced long-span roof seamlessly transitions to vertical wall between Fourth and Sixth Streets. Curved in both floor plan and vertical section, and clad with warm pre-patina zinc shingles, the arena expresses an iconic presence from both vehicular approach and more intimate pedestrian vantage points. Six vertical glass “ripples” punctuate the zinc facade, revealing activity at multiple levels within. A gradation of ceramic frit pattern on the glass accentuates vertical curvature of the ripples and a varied visual character at night.

The 714,000 square foot arena will be home to Milwaukee Bucks basketball and countless sports and entertainment events. The arena design features an intimate bowl optimized for basketball viewing with the majority of the seats in the lower level closer to the action, while still providing the flexibility to host hockey games, end stage and center stage concerts, family shows, circuses and ice events, as well as open-floor exhibitions. Both the upper and lower levels will load from the top down, creating a more efficient seating pattern free of breaks. The design caters to the next generation of fans, featuring open and transparent concourses, additional social spaces within view of the action, and a variety of experiential and premium seating options. Additional operational efficiencies include vastly improved load-in/load-out capabilities that will allow the facility to accommodate a wider variety of concerts and shows.

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Highland Avenue will provide important pedestrian linkage from the west. The arena design incorporates an articulated brick base which is punctuated by glazing for arena administrative offices, an employee entrance and the multi-story flagship Bucks Team Store that will anchor the corner of Fourth and Highland. The high roof structure is uniquely expressed as exposed Y-columns which sit in front of an expansive curtain wall that defines both public concourses and a premium level within. Patrons on these levels will enjoy dramatic city views to the south.

The Bucks tapped Populous last year to lead a group of prominent global, national and local architects including Wisconsin-based firms Eppstein Uhen and HNTB for the new arena and master plan of the entire development.

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As befits the main arena entry, the monumental east atrium soars almost 100 vertical feet, connecting every level of the arena from Ground/Event Level to the uppermost Panorama Level perched above the upper seating tier. The atrium is activated at every level by club spaces, sponsor experiences and public concourses, and its east facade is defined by a full-height curtain wall offering some of the best views of the city of Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

"I like it. I think it adds a lot of electricity, if you will, as to what's going on in that part of downtown," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.

"We're going to get this building started this summer, they say, and once they put a shovel in the ground I will rest easy that the team is going to stay here for generations to come," Herb Kohl, former Bucks owner said.

Bucks President Peter Feigin

Bucks President Peter Feigin

In a statement, Bucks President Peter Feigin said the following:

"We’re just months away from seeing the new home of the Milwaukee Bucks and our collective efforts to revitalize Milwaukee begin to move from vision to reality. These plans reflect the commitment of our ownership, generosity of Senator Kohl and historic collaboration with public officials to build a world-class sports and entertainment destination in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. We look forward to working closely with public officials and the entire community over the next several months to finalize the design and construction plans so that we can begin to create long-lasting jobs and economic opportunity in Milwaukee."

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The new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks is the focal point of the nearly 30-acre district, which also includes an expansive public entry plaza connecting to a new entertainment block, parking deck, Bucks Training Facility and other commercial and residential uses to be developed over the next 10 years.

Brad Clark, senior principal at Populous said the following in a statement:

"The hand-crafted zinc and glass exterior wraps the energy of a multi-purpose arena full of social gathering spaces and a new public plaza extends the development as a year-round catalyst for the transformation of downtown Milwaukee. Inspired by the natural beauty of Wisconsin’s rivers, lakes and forests, this new Wisconsin landmark will stand out as an iconic addition to the cityscape and seamlessly connect with surrounding neighborhoods."

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The seating environment of the new arena will be intimate for all events and intimidating for visiting NBA teams and Marquette opponents. Both seating tiers are top-loaded which minimizes breaks in the seating and thereby maximizes overall seating density. Premium seating is limited to courtside and sideline areas of the lower bowl and a single level of suites and theatre boxes sandwiched between the two seating tiers. Vertical structure in the four corners of the bowl is designed to limit roof spans. The two east towers (facing stage end for concerts) are sculpted and activated at multiple levels as unique premium or hospitality environments and the one-of-a-kind Panorama Club perches above the upper seating tier. Envisioned as a true “every-fan” club, this unique experience will offer fans views to the playing floor as well as panoramic exterior city views and an exterior balcony to the east.

Greg Uhen of Eppstein Uhen said the following in a statement:

"Bringing this arena to fruition is certainly the first big step in creating the vision for the arena district neighborhood, but it will also serve to represent our city and state in a way that we have not seen before. People will be amazed at how well this new venue enhances the experience for all patrons, not just for world class NBA basketball, but for all events hosted here."

There will be public hearings in April and May, and then the plans will go to the City of Milwaukee's Zoning Committee and the full Milwaukee Common Council for approval.

10 comments

  • Ted

    They’ll need us to buy them another one in 25 years.

    Too bad we’ll still be paying for this one, given the payback structure of the bonds sold to support it.

  • Stu

    LOOKS GREAT! I’m growing tired of these blow-hards with the negative drivel. Move to Des Moines or Rock Island if you don’t like what’s happening in Brew City. . .you won’t be missed!

  • dick

    I WOULD OF EXPECTED BETTER SEATING OPTIONS AND A WAY BETTER LOOK ON THE ENTRANCE! PLACE DOES NOT LOOK MUCH DIFFERENT THEN IT DOES NOW??????

  • Bret

    Looks good. But why spend this kind of money on a distraction and a private business that will not really contribute to the majority. This and the trolley. Spend, spend, spend… money you don’t have. Good luck in the future I will be moving out of the area .Taking my money with me. Thanks for the push:) Good luck debt slaves.

  • Justin

    I think that this arena is great for the city, but the design needs to be reconsidered. Something more timeless that embraces the city’s industrial roots would fit much better. The Miller Park design is a great example. The arena will be located between the Pabst complex and old world 3rd. I believe some cream city style brick and exposed steel structure be appropriate and appreciated.

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