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Guest House Garden Pavilion

Vetter Denk Architecture


Guest House of Milwaukee


  • General Contractor: Orta Construction
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Project Description


This new pavilion is located in a half-acre urban garden adjacent to a homeless shelter just west of downtown Milwaukee. The modest structure is composed of steel and wood – with special attention paid to the interaction between these two materials. The intentionally exaggerated roof creates a large catchment area, which then directs the water into a cedar-clad cistern used for irrigation. The placement allows for the distribution of the water to the gardens as well as creates a community gathering space. Each year, the pavilion collects 17,220 gallons of storm water within the cistern and adjacent rain gardens and feeds the 60 raised garden beds that are responsible for growing 3,500 pounds of fresh produce. It is an integral component of the shelter’s Urban Agriculture Training Program, which helps residents move on to find related jobs in farming and the food industry. The garden pavilion has become an icon of the urban farm, the homeless shelter and the larger neighborhood.

Jury Comment: “The garden pavilion provides an elegant and clear structural statement that supports its community mission with dignity. This simple economical structure is very carefully proportioned and elegantly detailed. It is inviting, and that befits the pavilion’s social purpose.”
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