The Wisconsin Center

Milwaukee, WI

Hunzinger Construction Company

Covering four city blocks, the Wisconsin Center is the largest design/build project ever undertaken in Milwaukee. It provides the city with 200,000 sf of exhibit space and 15,000 sf of meeting rooms, as well as a 38,000 sf Grand Ballroom. The exterior design was executed with the style and materials which are symbolic of the cityscapes of Milwaukee. High-end finishes grace the interior and exterior of the Center. The structural steel building is clad in masonry, precast concrete panel and curtain wall glazing system. Of special note, the curtain wall glazing system includes glass with a patterned ceramic frit system to add a heightened decorative effect, as well as shading from direct sunlight. Two rotundas with spires serve as focal points and entrances to the facility. Interior walls and doors feature a variety of decorative finishes and trim, accented by metal railings and fixtures. Wood and fabric wall finishes are used extensively in the Ballroom, along with recessed chandeliers. State-of-the-art features, including fiber optics, satellite links, electronic signage, bar code readers, automated billing and imaging systems, as well as complex audio/visual and security systems, have been incorporated into the facility. Constructing a facility of this order and magnitude in a prime downtown location that spans over and alongside Downtown Milwaukee’s equatorial east/west axis and arterial roadways of Wells Street, Wisconsin Avenue, and Kilbourn Avenue, respectively, required a great deal of preconstruction planning, collaboration with the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, and many other public and private agencies in order to bring the project to fruition. Hunzinger, as part of the design/build team, worked extensively on subsurface remediation efforts, dewatering, soil stabilization, and earth retention efforts in order to keep downtown’s vital roadways and utility services operational while this multi-year construction program was underway. Logistical challenges included site access, “just-in-time” material deliveries and maintaining an efficient and secure jobsite that was safe for not only the workers on the jobsite but also the general public in the nearby vicinity.