University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, School of Freshwater Sciences

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

1 / 8 – Photo credit: Christopher Barrett
“Inside and out, the building mimics the curves and colors of water. Its many windows, open spaces and curving architecture mark a stark departure from UWM's original water research institution.”
Alison Bauter, Milwaukee Business Journal



The new School of Freshwater Sciences creates an iconic image for important research in Milwaukee’s industrial Harbor District. Located along the Kinnickinnic River and Lake Michigan, the new Center serves as an anchor for future development among the shipping containers, tug boats, freighters, and regional coal reserves that populate this recovering industrial area.

Echoing the ever-changing surface of nearby Lake Michigan, the building’s façade is drawn from the fluid nature of water. Ultra high-performance curtain wall, and custom glazing units are rigorously detailed into a composition of color, pattern, and texture to create a memorable identity that fluidly shifts with seasons and weather.

The School of Freshwater Sciences offers the ideal setting and resources to study water in all its complexities. As the first graduate school in the nation dedicated solely to the study of freshwater, the new and expanded facility transforms a former ceramics factory into an efficient and flexible research center for Freshwater Sciences. The facility contains bio-secure and quarantine labs, flexible learning commons, a pathogen testing facility, conference room, and the Great Lakes Genomics Center – the first DNA sequencing lab in the United States dedicated to water and environmental issues.

In Association with Continuum Architects.

Project Data

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee


Certificate of Merit