The Milwaukee Bucks have revealed an updated set of renderings for their new multipurpose arena located in Downtown Milwaukee. The NBA basketball team enlisted Populous to design the facility, which will play host to various sporting and entertainment events.
Working in collaboration with local firms Eppstein Uhen and HNTB, the design team drew inspiration from Milwaukee’s expansive architectural history, along with the region’s natural surroundings. The arena is an ode to the city’s industrial heritage—a handcrafted zinc arch swoops over the structure while its glass interior maintains a lightness and transparency.
Senior principal at Populous, Brad Clark said the designers were “inspired by the natural beauty of Wisconsin’s rivers, lakes, and forests,” and wanted the stadium to “seamlessly connect with surrounding neighborhoods.” The new renderings are the final product of the design process overseen by the city of Milwaukee and local public officials before construction on the arena begins in the summer.
The city hopes the 714,000-square-foot arena will revitalize Milwaukee’s downtown area, home to the Milwaukee City Hall and the Mackie Building. Both landmarks were built in the 1800s and combine elements of Italian and Flemish Renaissance that contribute to Milwaukee’s diverse architectural landscape. Populous aims to use the building as a platform to bring people together in what will become a new entertainment district.
But there are doubts as to whether the arena can blend into the city without drawing too much attention to itself. Its size alone makes a strong statement, while the roof shape has been criticized for being out of touch with the civic spaces around the city.
There are also questions about how effectively it will encourage transformation in Milwaukee’s downtown area when there are no big events to host. Populous has been behind the designs of the Yankee Stadium and the London Olympic Stadium with both landmarks becoming central attractions in their respective cities. And while it’s uncertain whether the Milwaukee arena will receive a similar reception, its large-scale production hints that it intends to make its presence in the city felt. Completion is expected 2018.