Harley Davidson Museum


The Harley-Davidson Museum is located on a 20-acre parcel of land near downtown Milwaukee. Sitting on a peninsula surrounded by water, the urban design re-establishes the lost city grid, reflects the site`s history in the new buildings, allows access to the water and defines space for future development. All the while, creating a place where riders feel comfortable, and where those who are new to Harley-Davidson feel welcome. The design vision was for the Museum to draw visitors locally and from throughout the world to experience the people, products, culture and history of Harley-Davidson. Working with what was previously a brownfield, the landscape architects reintroduced a riparian landscape of the Menomonee River Valley which includes prairie forbs and grasses native to the region. The result was a striking contrast and synergy between contemporary and natural forces. One of the unique elements in this process was that from the beginning the entire site was considered as the “Museum”, not just the building complex. Many years ago a salt manufacturing plant once occupied the site, which resulted in contamination of the site soil. oslund.and.assoc. site design and grading strategies provided new opportunities for restoring the site with new vegetation. The plan for the Harley-Davidson Museum and its site incorporates urban design elements and engages the surrounding water and green spaces. A series of riverwalks, planted with native species, connect formal outdoor spaces of the Museum complex with informal open lawn spaces and the parking gardens to the north and south. The parking gardens utilize grass pavers in some of the parking stalls to help with stormwater runoff and infiltration. Bosques of trees line the river`s edge directly adjacent to the museum and the Founder`s Terrace, creating a cool space next to the water to relax after a ride. The main terminus plaza holds a bronze sculpture depicting one of the defining moments in Harley-Davidson history – the Hill Climb. Reclaimed industrial hoppers – once used for granular industrial materials, and now painted Harley-Davidson orange – act as vertical focal points at either end of the on-site, north-south circulation route. Additional elements of the design include custom I-beam benches, lighting, planters, the railing that edges the seawall and the unique memorial rivets. The rivets were conceived as both a fund raising mechanism – entitled “Living The Legend” - and as a way for Harley enthusiasts to become a part of history. This museum is an achievement of sustainable reuse, a place for the recollection and creation of history, as well as a revitalized green space for the city of Milwaukee for generations to come.

Constructed, 2008

Old - ASLA Illinois Chapter President's Design Award in 2009Old - ASLA Minnesota Chapter Design Award in 2009Old - ASLA Wisconsin Chapter Design Award in 2010