In 2016 Ayres partnered with Quorum Architects and won the Milwaukee Harbor District’s Take Me to the River design competition, whose goal was to develop a catalytic, new public park space in the heart of Milwaukee’s primarily industrial Inner Harbor. The Ayres/Quorum team’s winning design for Harbor View Plaza highlighted the intersection of historical lake shore ecologies and the pattern of industrial-period settlement and development.
The new park’s design features a lake shore promenade, a public canoe and kayak boat launch, a wetland-themed living fountain, and a playground tower patterned on the shipping containers ubiquitous to the working harbor. The playground tower reflects the cultural and industrial heritage of the Inner Harbor while serving as a beacon for Harbor View Plaza visitors and a gateway for future redevelopment.
Since winning the competition, Ayres steadily developed the project design with the Harbor District over a three-phase process, with construction completed in 2019.
The American Council of Engineering Companies of Wisconsin awarded the project a 2020 State Finalist Award.