Student Union renovation honored twice

The renovation of the UWM Student Union was recently honored with two architecture awards.

The project was one of 20 honored as part of the 27th annual Milwaukee Mayor’s Design Awards, announced on May 17 in a ceremony at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning. The union renovation received the award in the Urbanism Redefined category.

The renovation was also chosen as a major award winner in the annual Daily Reporter Top Projects Awards Program. A recognition ceremony was held May 18.

The $30 million renovation was completed in fall 2023. The Daily Reporter noted the project “clarified confusing wayfinding, admitted daylight and views into previously windowless areas and opened up generous spaces for students to study, relax and socialize.”

The design of the renovation project was led by UWM architecture faculty member Jim Shields, who worked with HGA Architects & Engineers and J.H. Findorff & Son to refresh and revitalize the 350,000 square foot “brutalist modern” building.

The union, which was built in phases in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, was showing its age in recent years. As a result, an upgrade was approved in the 2018-2019 state budget, and work started in July 2021

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