On Tuesday morning at 10:30, the The Brewery Neighborhood Improvement District #1 will unveil a massive new sculptural sign for the neighborhood.
The district hopes the large steel and stone structure, which its calling the "Gateway Sculpture" – and which looks a bit like a post-modern Kerry Peninsula ring fort – will serve as a welcome to residents and visitors.
The structure – a collaboration between Eppstein Uhen Architects, Ascend Design and David J. Frank – was commissioned by the Brewery Project LLC, which has developed the former Pabst Brewery site into one of the city’s most unique and in-demand neighborhoods, and the City of Milwaukee.
The ring is located in the grassy center of roundabout at 7th Street and Juneau Avenue, in front of the Hyatt Place hotel that opened last year.
The circular structure is 72 feet in diameter, with a base of stone held in place in cages, with steel panels running along part of the top and reaching nine feet high. The words "The Brewery District" are etched into two sides of the work, which will be illuminated with LED lighting powered by a trio of photovoltaic cells.
There are also Jacob Best – the forerunner of Pabst Brewing – hop leaf logos engraved in the steel.
The lighting, as well as indigenous landscape plantings will be added next spring.
"The initial design inspiration for the new Brewery District’s gateway sculptural signage was the strength and large scale of many of the original Pabst buildings," said architect Kevin M. Mantz, AIA, of Zilber Ltd.
"In most cases, heavy in industrial materials and purpose built. The loose laid stone gabion wall is a current interpretation of the historic stone building foundations. Its protruding circular form is ‘remnant like’ of the original grain silos. The unfinished Corten steel curved panels with exposed fasteners reinforces the industrial nature of The Brewery District, past and present.
"The open cut decorative panels nod to the craftsmanship, artistry and ornamentation found on many of the Pabst era buildings. The original Pabst logo is understated in the design paying homage to the Best and Pabst families. The laser-cut stainless steel lettering is set off by the ever rusting Corten steel panels and provides not only an artful contrast, but symbolizes the strength of old and new coming together."
As part of the unveiling, which will be held in the Hyatt Place due to the cold, Mayor Tom Barrett is expected to declare Tuesday to be Brewery District Day. After a welcome from Zilber Executive Vice President John Kersey there will be free beer for all attendees (age 21 and up, of course) thanks by Pabst Milwaukee Brewery & Taproom and MKE Brewing Company and live music by Milwaukee’s Polka Kings.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.