UWM School of Freshwater Sciences

Milwaukee, WI
New Construction, Renovation
Launching a One-Of-A-Kind Water Research Facility

At a Glance

  • SUMMARY: Addition and renovations to Great Lakes Research Facility at UWM’s Harbor Campus
  • SIZE: 92,600 sf; 3-story addition 2,178 sf robotics lab renovation
  • COMPLETION: August 2014
  • CONSTRUCTION COST: $39 million
  • IN ASSOCIATION: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
  • OWNER: State of Wisconsin, Division of Facilities Development University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
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Project Overview

The three-story, 92,000-square-foot addition for the School of Freshwater Sciences continues UWM’s 40-year history of innovative water research and is the nation’s first school dedicated to the study of freshwater science. The overall design goal was to create space that encourages collaboration, inspires ideas, celebrates the environment, promotes freshwater research, and attracts global interest.

The addition’s linear form compliments the narrow site and seamlessly connects to the existing building to promote integration and collaboration between disciplines. The exterior’s southern exposure reflects the movement, flow, and reflectivity of water and incorporates carefully placed sunshades to make the best use of natural light for the interior. The primary functions in the building are interdisciplinary research labs, faculty and student offices, multi-purpose collaboration areas, and instructional spaces. All of these are supported by core facilities for computation, data visualization, genomics, biosecurity (ABSL-3), and trace analysis.


  • State Finalist Award, Engineering Excellence Awards, Structural Systems category, American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Wisconsin, 2016
  • Merit Award, AIA Pittsburgh, 2015
  • Judge’s Choice Impact Award, WCREW, 2015
  • Best in Show, The Daily Reporter’s Top Projects,2015
  • Mayor’s Design Award, City of Milwaukee, 2015
  • Project Achievement Award, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE),Wisconsin Chapter, 2015
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