Overview

Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Overview

Discovery World is a 120,000-square-foot aquatics museum and aquarium overlooking Lake Michigan in downtown Milwaukee. The complex includes a rectangular Science Building with exhibits connected to a circular Aquarium with saltwater and freshwater tanks. Jutting over the lake, Discovery World's low massing reflects the shoreline's horizontal proportions. The facility seemingly floats atop a transparent glass base that is deeply recessed below the cantilevered second floor. Discovery World's educational mission focusing on the Great Lakes environment inspired the architecture.

Electrical and mechanical engineering

The building's electrical and mechanical system supports an array of energy-efficient sustainable strategies.

lighting design

The exterior lighting subtly highlights the facility and provides safe lakefront access. Low-level bollards, uplit trees and carefully placed pools of light fit into the surrounding night environment without overpowering the site. A highlight is the Pilot House, set atop the round Pier Wisconsin building. The circular shading louver is uplit, creating a subtle highlight for this grand gesture. The lighting design provides a subtle but important enhancement to this spectacular new icon on Lake Michigan.

sustainable design

The building's sustainable strategy following LEED® Gold Guidelines include exterior sunshades, natural day-lighting, high-efficiency lighting, natural ventilation, and an innovative pump system using lake water to cool the building.

... There is an element of ‘wow!’ to everything about this project. We appreciate how fully developed it is as a complete space. Every moment is well thought out with the rest of the design. It has all the pieces to create a really spectacular space with ambiance and atmosphere. The project has a nice balance that generates a lot of energy with an efficient use of materials.
AIA Wisconsin Honor Awards Jury

News

Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin

News

Awards

Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin

Awards