Milwaukee Department Of Transportation Central Fleet Headquarters


An opportunity presented itself to streamline Milwaukee's Department of Transportation by putting many divisions under one roof. In doing so, a renovation and expansion of the existing Central Shop building, previously used by the Fleet Management and Highway Divisions, was necessary. The Dri-Design Tapered Series Wall Panel System was used on the expanded area to create a sense of movement, symbolizing the transportation department's function.

"Dri Design was selected because it provides a high-performance pressure equalized rainscreen design that directs condensation from the back through an internal gutter system and weeps it out the bottom of the wall," says John Schremp, PE, president of Architectural Products of Wausau Ltd., Wausau, Wis. "This keeps the internal wall cavity dry and prevents streaking from occurring on the outside of the building. Dri Design also provides a Tapered Wall Panel that is available in small quantities of three custom colors."

The project required 4,210 square feet of 0.080-inch aluminum panels in Deep Spice, Old Redwood and Red Maple colors. Tapered Series allows each individual panel face to taper top to bottom, bottom to top, left to right or right to left. With the panels, random or regimented patterns can be created, including waves, bonds, running bonds and shingles. The installation process consisted of an air vapor barrier being installed over Denslgas. Architectural Products of Wausau installed the base flashing, vertical furring, mineral wood insulation, Tyvek weather barrier, horizontal hat section subgirts at the horizontal panel joints and then the Dri Design panels.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Building on Watertown Plank Road was demolished because of I-94 expansions. The 17,389-square-foot central shop was gutted so Continuum Architects + Planners SC, Milwaukee, could prepare the new headquarters and efficiently add office space with meeting and training rooms. A 16,818-square-foot addition was needed to accommodate the additional departments moving into the building. The architects were challenged to create a renovated space that is open to the public but also very secure for the sheriff’s department.

Sustainable features also were a priority, such as a 2-story glass south-facing entrance that floods the lobby with natural lighting. A variable refrigerant flow mechanical system with smaller units and taps was connected to the boiler. The Dri-Design panels also bring sustainability to the project. Dri-Design products do not have a foam core, composites, sealants or tapes like many other metal wall panel products. This makes them environmentally friendly and easily recyclable at the end of their lifespan.

“Our panels can be customized for any project to ensure the architect’s and building owner’s design intent is realized,” says Brad Zeeff, president of Dri-Design. “Custom colors and sizes, as well as sustainable attributes, all make Dri-Design a leading selection for reinventing a renovated space.”

Schremp notes: "The new façade adds life to the building. As you move past the building the sun catches the tapered surfaces at different angles. This, in combination with the three colors, continually changes the building’s appearance."

For more information about the Dri-Design® Wall Panel System, call 616-355-2970 or visit

Photographs by Mark Kempf, St. Louis

About Dri-Design

DriDesign_logo_020511Dri-Design is a manufacturer of dry-joint rainscreen metal wall systems available in a wide range of styles and colors. In addition, the company offers graphic wall systems created though sophisticated custom perforating and via imaging technology. To learn more about the company's products, visit

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