Third District Police Station/ Milwaukee, WI

The three-story, 84,800-square-foot Police Station and Communication Center consolidates multiple City emergency services under one roof.  The functions of a police station, police administration and detective division, and a 911 communication center are separated by floors. A four-story, 111,700-square-foot precast parking garage is connected and accessible at all building levels, with the first floor being fully enclosed for police vehicles and sally port.

Continuum led the core and shell design, including the parking structure, working directly with the structural engineers and designers from the precast manufacturer. The precast concrete parking structure is designed with a flat first floor that is fully enclosed and sloping upper plate floors. The first floor houses a sally port for easy access to the secure booking area and 24-hour holding cells. The first and second floors are for squad cars, with the remainder of the parking structure for police officers’ and staffers’ private cars. Public parking is provided on a surface lot across from the front entry. The parking structure was controversial in the neighborhood because it involved tearing down an historic movie theatre. Great attention had to be paid to the harmonious expression of the parking structure. Continuum used light-colored concrete wall panels with reveals to break up the mass. A curved precast panel and first floor brick infill made for a graceful connection between the police station and its boxy parking structure.

The project demonstrates the City’s investment in a struggling neighborhood, so it was key to create a welcoming public landmark. This was done through a large amount of window openings, the creation of a public plaza, and the use of public art on the facade. The building uses a brick base with aluminum panels and a curved metal roof that cantilevers over the building‘s perimeter, softening the mass of the structure.

Related Topics