Fiserv Forum Design Firm Wins Wisconsin Urban Wood Use Award

Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA), one of three design teams hired by the Milwaukee Bucks to design Fiserv Forum, received the second annual Wisconsin Urban Wood Utilization Award. The award was presented during a June 20 ceremony on EUA’s Milwaukee office rooftop terrace.

The award celebrates the innovative use of urban wood – beautiful, rich, unique lumber sourced from trees located on urban streets, in parks, on residential land or on commercial property. In the case of Fiserv Forum, all urban wood came from trees that once lived in Wisconsin, and much of it was reclaimed from Milwaukee’s urban areas.

Materials used in Fiserv Forum were selected to represent Wisconsin’s rich past of wooded landscapes and industrial manufacturing. EUA is being honored for using local white oak lumber in establishing the Northwoods-inspired look and feel of the concourses, incorporating urban wood-added texture, warmth and character to the spaces.

“When developing the design for Fiserv Forum, it was important that we consider sustainable wood that had a story,” says Jeremy Hackbart, senior project architect for EUA. “Wisconsin Urban Wood and the repurposed white oak we selected have direct ties to the local community and state. Whether they realize it or not, patrons walking through the concourses will be surrounded by wood from trees that once grew here – not trees harvested as building materials, but trees that were allowed to live out their lives in an urban environment, and then hand-selected for a second life in this stunning environment.”

EUA worked with Wisconsin Urban Wood supplier Wudeward Urban Forest Products to source nearly 20,000 board feet of urban white oak lumber that was used to make bar ceilings, concession fronts, and harvest tables on the main and upper concourses. The oak was installed in random widths to showcase the natural deviation of grain, knots, and clarity from one board to the next. The application spreads throughout the facility in an homage to the massive shade tree.

EUA also used upcycled Wisconsin Urban Wood for the dramatic 18-foot backdrop developed as the main feature in the exclusive BMO Club, a premium space located near the players’ tunnel, where guests can enjoy a lounge-like atmosphere before taking their seats. This visually stimulating mosaic was assembled from 3.5-inch squares of upcycled cherry, walnut and maple Wisconsin Urban Wood end grain pieces, machined with varying depths.

Understanding Urban Wood
When urban trees need to be removed due to failing health, damage, or construction, urban wood stewards, like Wisconsin Urban Wood, reclaim these magnificent resources, saving them from wood chippers and firewood piles to be used to their highest purpose. These organizations assure the trees are processed into lumber, giving the trees a second life as sound, usable boards that are perfect for flooring or millwork; decorative planks for architectural woodwork including doors, cabinets, stairs, and railings; and uniquely characterized planks for interior finish work like wainscoting, wall cladding, molding and trim.

Architects, interior designers, builders, homeowners, developers, manufacturers and furniture makers around the country recognize that using reclaimed urban wood not only repurposes these trees to their highest potential, but utilizes an abundant resource that, if resourced regularly, could fulfill almost one third of the country’s annual hardwood needs.

About Fiserv Forum
Fiserv Forum is a preeminent sports and entertainment arena in downtown Milwaukee that opened on Aug. 26, 2018. The building was awarded LEED Silver earlier this year. Designed by Populous, Eppstein Uhen Architects and HNTB, the venue offers incomparable sightlines, customer service, technology and amenities. Fiserv Forum includes 17,341 seats for basketball and up to 18,000 for concerts, with 34 luxury suites and three clubs. The new venue hosts a diverse variety of events, including the Milwaukee Bucks, Marquette University men’s basketball, major concerts, family shows and other sports and entertainment events, and has been selected to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention. In addition to Fiserv, Founding Partners for Fiserv Forum include BMO Harris Bank, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Johnson Controls and Miller Brewing Company.

About Eppstein Uhen Architects
Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA) is best known for designing environments that elevate people’s potential. More than 230 employees in Milwaukee, Madison, Des Moines and Denver demonstrate unparalleled commitment to the markets, communities and clients they serve. The respected 112-year old firm specializes in several markets including education, workplace, healthcare, senior living, student housing, mixed-use, entertainment and science + technology. 

About Wisconsin Urban Wood
Wisconsin Urban Wood (WUW) is a network of companies and organizations committed to the social, economic and ecological benefits of urban trees. WUW’s independent businesses and organizations are part of a 501c3 nonprofit network that reclaims urban trees for their highest and best uses – first for their environmental benefits as living healthy trees, and next for their wood after their growing years are over. WUW collaborates to divert removed trees from waste streams and is inspiring behavior changes and practices to maximize utilization of urban and community forest products. 

The Wisconsin Urban Wood Utilization Award is a sponsored award category presented by Wudeward Urban Forest products and funded in part by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division and the U.S. Forest Service.  These institutions are equal opportunity providers. 

About Populous
Populous is a global architecture and design firm that designs the places where people love to be together, like Yankee Stadium, the London Olympics, and the Super Bowl. Over the last 36 years, the firm has designed more than 3,000 projects worth $40 billion across the world’s top cities, including the designing and planning of more than 85 arena projects ranging in size from collegiate facilities to major NHL and NBA venues. Designs for places like Fiserv Forum, T-Mobile Arena, Amway Center and Ford Center create emotional connections between people and the civic, sports and entertainment places and events they love best. Populous has 18 offices on four continents with regional centers in Kansas City, London and Brisbane. 

About Mortenson
­Mortenson is a U.S.-based, top-20 builder, developer and provider of energy and engineering services committed to helping organizations move their strategies forward. Mortenson’s expanding portfolio of integrated services ensures that its customers’ investments result in high-performing assets. The result is a turnkey partner, fully invested in the business success of its customers. Founded in 1954, Mortenson has operations across North America with offices in Chicago, Denver, Fargo, Iowa City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and in Canada. Mortenson has been a staple in the Milwaukee community for over 30 years working with customers including Kohler Company, Aurora Health Care, Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, the Milwaukee Bucks, and Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin. Mortenson’s Milwaukee operations employs more than 300 craft workers and professional team members.