Vertical Access Top 10 of 2010: Project 8 – Milwaukee Federal Building, Milwaukee, WI

Quinn Evans working on aerial platform at Milwaukee Federal Building

In October 2010, Vertical Access performed a hands-on investigation of the tower of the Milwaukee Federal Building to identify potentially unsafe conditions and document existing conditions at the granite exterior using TPAS. VA used industrial rope access techniques to perform its investigation of the tower of the building, while Quinn Evans Architects used an aerial platform to access the lower portion of the building. This project was of particular interest for Vertical Access because it was the third federal courthouse and post office building from the late 19th century that we have worked on in recent years, after Brooklyn Post Office and Courthouse and Erie Community College, which was originally built as the main post office for Buffalo, NY.

Mike and friend on the Milwaukee Federal Building tower

The Milwaukee Federal Building was designed as a United States Courthouse and Post Office by Willoughby Edbrooke, who was Supervising Architect for the United States Treasury Department from 1891 to 1892. The original portion of the building was constructed between 1892 and 1899, with an addition added to the south in the 1930s. The lower portion of the original building is five stories tall, with gabled roofs and dormers and large arched openings at the entrance below the tower. The granite at the tower and other portions of the building is purportedly from quarries near Mount Waldo in Frankfort County, Maine. These quarries produce a coarse-grained, medium gray granite and also furnished stone used in the construction of the main post office in Cleveland, Ohio and the United States Mint in Philadelphia. The 210-foot tall tower rises from the center of the north façade. Like the rest of the building, the ornament of the tower reflects the Richardson Romanesque style of the original design.

Read about Project 1: Union Theological Seminary Brown Tower
Read about Project 2: University of Buffalo Alumni Arena
Read about Project 3: United States Capitol Dome
Read about Project 4: Boston College Burns Library Tower
Read about Project 5: Mayo Clinic Gonda Building
Read about Project 6: Convent of the Sacred Heart School
Read about Project 7: The Galleria