Erie Street Plaza | Milwaukee Wisconsin | Stoss Landscape Urbanism

Erie Street Plaza

The variegated surface extends into the steel marsh, which collects and cleans stormwater from the site. ©Stoss Landscape Urbanism

Erie Street Plaza is a small urban plaza in the Historic Third Ward district of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The 13,000-square-foot plaza lies at the point where the Milwaukee River meets the Federal Channel as it empties into Lake Michigan. It is the final link in a series of public space activators along the Milwaukee Riverwalk, a three-mile pedestrian and bicycle corridor that connects downtown Milwaukee to the emerging and redeveloping Third Ward, Beerline Districts, and the lakefront beyond. At the beginning of the project’s design, the future of Erie Street Plaza – its users, its function, its programming, even its necessity – were undecided. The urban context was generally one of infrastructure and industry; the site lacked neighbors and potential users. The site itself was a surface parking lot, subject to harsh environmental conditions, including high winds off the lake. Who is it for? How will it be used? This uncertainty, this open-endedness, was at the core of its design.

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