The Moderne
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Rinka Chung Architecture
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Glazing Contractor
Klein-Dickert Milwaukee, Inc.
Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA

General Contractor
J.H. Findorff & Son Inc.
Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Kawneer and Traco Products
1600 Wall System®1 Curtain Wall
Trifab® VersaGlaze® (VG) 451T Storefront Framing System
Trifab® VersaGlaze® (VG) 450 Storefront Framing System
350 Medium Stile Entrances
TR-700 Window Wall with custom 90 degree corners with narrow sightlines
TR-2800 2-1/4" Fixed Architectural Thermal Aluminum Window
TR-2500 2-1/4" Flush Projected Architectural Thermal Aluminum Window (Projected Out)
NX-8910 3-1/4" Outswing Thermal Aluminum Architectural Terrace Doors

Designed to be the new flagship of Milwaukee’s downtown redevelopment, the austere outline of The Moderne seamlessly blends the form of a high-rise with the function of a luxury mixed-use development. The name “Moderne” refers to the architectural style of the 1930s – 1950s reflected in the building’s design. Characterized by curving forms, continuous horizontal and vertical lines and a classic, yet modern exterior, this 30-story high-rise, which incorporates luxury condominiums, executive apartments, extensive parking and ground floor retail space, will be the tallest structure west of the Milwaukee River.

To create an iconic visual presentation in the Milwaukee skyline and foster the economic growth of the city while also creating an exciting destination, the owner worked with Milwaukee-based Rinka Chung Architecture. According to the architect’s website, the opulent yet restrained Moderne style was the biggest design theory for the facility, reminiscent of progress and forward momentum. “Visually, the glassy shaft is stretched even wider by adjacent vertical windows and slips delicately into the more dominant horizontal reticulation of the building. A flat, curved roofline appears to float above a continuous band of set-in glass.”

Construction for the $55.3 million building began in February of 2011. Klein-Dickert Milwaukee, Inc. joined the project early on as the glazing contractor and installer. To meet the design needs of the architect and owner, products used on the building would not only need to have strong aesthetic and performance capabilities, but also meet the technical and engineering needs required by the project.

"When Kawneer and Traco showed us their NexGen series products, the architect and I were impressed both with the aesthetics of the products and the competitive pricing of the systems," said Derek Wiencek, Vice President, Klein-Dickert Milwaukee, Inc.

"Because they were brought in very early on in the process, Kawneer and Traco were able to help write the specifications and provide input that ultimately allowed the owner to afford the building they wanted with the quality that was needed," said Zak Koga, LEED GA, and Project Manager for J.H. Findorff & Son.

The Moderne building envelope consists of glass, pre-cast concrete, Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) and metal panels.

With their newly combined product portfolios, Kawneer and Traco were responsible for coordinating a range of products, which were manufactured in several different locations. And, because much of the façade is glass, several systems from Kawneer and Traco were used on the building including the TR-700 Window Wall, TR-2800 and TR-2500 2-1/2" Architectural Thermal Aluminum Windows, and NX-8900 Series Terrace Doors. The company worked to ensure the pieces came at a coordinated time with consistent-looking paint colors for a seamless aesthetic.

The TR-700 Window Wall features a slab to slab application and slab edge cover that helps deliver the desired sleek and streamlined appearance for the building. The system features 90 degree custom corners with narrow sightlines, which also helped the architect achieve their design objectives. Additionally, the system can be pre-engineered and pre-glazed eliminating much of the labor and time spent on-site.

Kawneer products, which included 1600 Wall System®1 Curtain Wall, Trifab® VersaGlaze® Storefront Framing Systems and 350 Medium Stile Entrances were used on the lower levels of the building to provide the smooth, retro-futuristic appearance.

"I visited the site several times throughout the process and was amazed how it looked just like the renderings," said Michael Sharum, Sales Representative for Kawneer Company, Inc. "There was a lot of consistency of design vision within the whole design team, from the initial idea to the finished products."

Such a large scale project is not without its challenges. One such challenge was in the design of the curtain wall that was to follow the curvature of the building, which required curved glass and embeds to anchor the system because of the post tension slabs. The entire building team worked closely with the engineers to ensure that the glass could be installed correctly and all anchors were secure.

Another logistical challenge was to construct a large building in a small space. The Moderne is located in downtown Milwaukee, on the corner of Old World Third Street and Juneau Avenue in the growing Park East corridor. This busy area is home to the Bradley Sports Center, the River Walk and many other businesses and restaurants that have heavy traffic.

"Watching the pace at which the building was erected was quite impressive," said Sharum. "Especially given the lack of space the construction team had to work in."

The building will be turned over at the end of August. Upon completion, amenities for residents will include a state-of-the-art clubroom, fitness center, full service dining, bike parking and high-speed elevators for condominium floors.

"Overall this a good project for Milwaukee," said Koga. "It was great to see several different players come together to create a beautiful building. This is something to be proud of."