The design team working on the $420 million Wisconsin Center expansion project have revealed concept ideas of what the facility could look like on the inside.
Representatives of architecture firm tvsdesign updated members of the Wisconsin Center District's Board of Directors on the project's design progress this morning. WCD owns and operates the convention center and other downtown Milwaukee event venues. Atlanta-based tvsdesign is working with Milwaukee-based Eppstein Uhen Architects to design the expansion.
"Where we are now is we've completed schematic design; we're in the design development phase," Rob Svedberg, principal of tvsdesign, said.
Svedberg made clear the designs shared with the board are not final. Details are still being worked out between the design team, WCD chief executive Marty Brooks and Denver-based CAA ICON, the owner’s representative for WCD on the project.
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The new main entrance will be off Kilbourn and Vel R. Phillips avenues. There, the team is devising a front lobby that will feature a large stair that has seating off to the side, plus a water feature. Renderings depict a large waterfall.
"This is just a very dynamic space that leads your eye up to that destination ballroom on the fourth floor," Sal Lalani, associate principal at tvsdesign, said.
In efforts to use every square inch of space, the design team has thought of what should be done with space underneath escalators. Renderings show an arrangement of tables and chairs.
Lalani also showed a rendering of a lounge area as an example of a highly visible space that stresses guest appearance.
"Here, we're really trying to drive home a hospitality feel, a less institutional feel," she said.
A few options for ballroom ceiling design were also shown among the renderings.
WCD is looking to double the size of the convention center's event spaces. The project could break ground later this year.
District officials say the expansion will make the Milwaukee more competitive with its peer cities for convention business. It will also allow the Wisconsin Center to host larger events or more than one major event simultaneously.