Architect: Rinka Chung Architecture Inc.
Owner: Za Man, LLC
Contractor: ADK Design
Pizza Man has been an iconic Milwaukee institution since the 1970s. In January of 2010, the restaurant burned to the ground. After loyal fans encouraged the owners to rebuild, Pizza Man returned to Milwaukee’s East Side after a three-year hiatus. The success of the rebuilt restaurant invigorated the owners to open a second location at the new Mayfair Collection in Wauwatosa. The intimate yet urban aesthetic of the original historic Pizza Man has now been successfully re-introduced into a former industrial space with exposed steel trusses and 25 foot ceilings at Pizza Man-Wauwatosa. Entering through a cavernous dark vestibule, the restaurant opens into a double height dining room and bar area with custom designed reclaimed wood dining booths. The high ceilings of the existing space created a unique opportunity for a 2nd floor mezzanine overlooking the main space. A four-seasons patio with full height operable glass garage doors is positioned adjacent to the main dining room and two private glass enclosed dining rooms with custom built wine display shelves dot the perimeter. Dining chandeliers and furniture designed by local artisans are located throughout the project.
The Mayfair Collection, an outdoor mall which once stood as an outdated warehouse in a prominent and visible location, now houses large anchor tenants such as Nordstrom Rack, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sacks Off 5th, and soon a Whole Foods. The interior of the strip mall, however, retains the industrial feel and scale of an old warehouse space. Although Pizza Man-Wauwatosa is not an ideal tenant for a retail strip mall such as this the owners were able to create a destination that removes customers from their surrounding context and creates a cozy, intimate atmosphere that the original location once provided. Outdoor space in a strip mall is not highly desirable, but the glass enclosed atrium and integrated indoor/outdoor dining provides an elegant and unique contribution to the complex.
An intimate and cozy re-interpretation of an iconic Milwaukee restaurant – Pizza Man-Wauwatosa, bridges the gap between large big-box retailers and locally owned businesses. Understanding what made the original Pizza Man so successful and re-creating the eclectic old-world atmosphere in a busy, fast paced retail corridor was one of the main challenges of the project. Pizza Man-Wauwatosa incorporates more private dining and event space, wine room, four season room, and two levels of seating to accommodate nearly 300 guests.
Pizza Man-Wauwatosa acts as a model for local retailers to both compete and coexist with national chain brands in a highly suburban context. This restaurant changes the dynamic of the typical suburban strip mall by integrating and promoting small business. Pizza Man-Wauwatosa promises to change the perception of a typical strip mall by re-inventing the manner in which users experience what is usually a homogenous retail environment. The restaurant accomplishes this by providing a break for suburban dwellers living in a world of repetitive and seemingly never ending chain stores. Pizza Man brings back the urban/walkable feel and provides a sense of identity typically lacking in a car-centric single-use development.
Photos: Rick Ebbers
Architect: Kahler Slater
Contractor: Riley Construction
Snap-on Incorporated is the global leader in high-performance tools and solutions for a diverse range of critical challenges. Founded in 1920 in Kenosha, WI, the company manufactured and marketed ten sockets that would "snap on" to five interchangeable handles, a concept that revolutionized the tool industry. As they closed in on 100 years of business, Snap-on wished to celebrate its rich history with the associates and customers that created its organization. Their existing 2,528 sf museum space was overpopulated by artifacts and ineffectively represented the Snap-on history. A new space needed to be designed in a way that best reflected the Snap-on brand, what they have accomplished and the global impact they have made.
The main project objective was to take the existing artifacts and create an environment where architecture and exhibits are seamlessly integrated, giving the visitor a memorable impression of the Snap-on brand and its lasting legacy. The design of the museum was intentionally minimal and straightforward, allowing visitors to take a guided tour or peruse the content on their own. The aesthetic evokes the high-tolerance and high-precision methodology of the company – minimalism and a limited color palette emphasize Snap-on’s primary red brand color.
The overall project is comprised of 4,261 sf of remodeled space, encompassing an expanded lobby, expanded museum and support program: curator’s office, kitchen, servery and storage. The museum is divided into three experience zones: the arrival zone, main museum hall and flex exhibit/dining area. There are over 500 artifacts that depict people and events from its 100-year history.
Upon entry, dark zinc metal cladding transitions from the exterior to the interior, with a large sweeping curve terminating into the existing commons space. A neighboring iconic red feature wall takes shape, embossed with the company's founding year. The entry orientation allows a more private entry experience and faces Snap-on’s innovation workshop area. Custom metal grate soffit panels, monolithically backlit, highlight the entry and blackened diamond plate steel flooring frames the entry, leading you into the museum's arrival zone space.
A low curved ceiling supporting a suspended video wall displaying Snap-on's iconic logo sets the tone of the arrival zone. Automated media and lighting, interchangeable client-focused graphics and the first original Snap-on tools are displayed as the revolutionary "five do the work of fifty" story is shared. The story continues with a 150-foot internally illuminated timeline wall, featuring custom recessed casework with metallic peg-board panels that provide changeability of artifacts and displays while evoking a "shop" feel.
Located in the center of the space is the main museum hall divided up by three seamless LED square pendant fixtures. Each square defines a specific exhibit theme: diagnostic, tool storage, delivery and sales exhibit areas. Large dark acoustical ceiling panels are suspended above the lights, extending the entire length of the hall to define the space and provide acoustical attenuation. The hall continues with an iconic red wall extending from the embossed entry feature. A custom rail system is built into this wall for flexibility of additional storylines. The multi-functioning rails allow graphics to be inserted, magnetic graphics to adhere to the face, and heavy 3D elements to lock into this system.
At the end of this space is the flex exhibit/dining area, a dual-purpose space that functions as exhibit and a unique dining experience. Snap-on fabricated custom mobile tool boxes provide storage and display surface for museum artifacts. Hidden away is a kitchen and servery area to support the dining experience in the museum. A large pivot wall allows food service staff to access the museum space during the dining experience. A long line of custom casework, skinned in painted high-gloss steel to resemble a mobile tool box, is provided in the servery area to support the food service staff or create a buffet setting.
The Snap-on museum is a world-class space with many unique features that make it unlike any other corporate museum. The story of Snap-on is clearly showcased and the history of the brand is elevated so that anyone who walks into the space comes away with a deep understanding of the company. This story, combined with a dramatic and elegant design, creates a memorable experience for visitors.
Photos: Peter McCullough
Architect: Mead & Hunt, Inc.
Owner: Rock County
Contractor: Immel Construction, Inc.
The Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport was in need of an updated, larger terminal building to better serve the airport and the surrounding community. The airport itself served as a destination point for many aviators as well as the general public due to its very successful restaurant, with magnificent views of the runway and airplane activity.
With the understanding that this airport serves as a gateway to the local community, it was important that the new image was not only identifiable but also welcoming and memorable. The building’s main entrance and central axis is made prominent with an elevated roofline. Rich, textural limestone frames the strong horizontal lines of the glazed curtain wall and carries a continuous connection from the public side to the airfield. Because of the abundance of curtain wall that maximizes views throughout the terminal, a dark glass was selected to best control heat gain into the building while still allowing some privacy for interior spaces. The glass entry canopies provide an elegant transition from the exterior into the light filled interior, maintaining the desired light and airy appearance.
The strength and texture of the exterior stone continues into the lobby as the main feature. This impressive wall highlights the lobby as a gathering place and emphasizes the promenade to the airfield drawing one through the space. Designed with generous space, the lobby is inviting and flooded with natural light as exterior views are available from every angle.
Flanking this main axis to the east is the restaurant, which is given prominence and ideal views of the apron. To the west, there are the main airport/community functions. Two large, flexible meeting spaces were provided to engage the public and draw local groups to the terminal. New administration offices, toilet rooms, and private pilot lounge were also provided to better serve the basic airport functions. Rich colors and textures used throughout the interior of the terminal to both modernize the facility and elevate the patron’s experience, making this a welcoming regional airport to remember.
Architect: HGA Architects and Engineers
Owner: Kerry Asia Pacific
Construction Manager: Gilbane Building Company
The project is located in Singapore on the second floor of a mid-rise building in a newly developed technology park. The first two floors of the building enjoy the shady overhang of the building’s mass above and floor-to-ceiling frameless glass exterior walls. This transparent volume appears to hang from the massive building above, while gaining from its enclosure. Originally designed as two separate tenant spaces in an east and west wing, the 40,000 square foot floor plate is divided by three open air bridges that connect distinct glass volumes.
The client is a food and beverage production company with research and technology centers in Southeast Asia. The project consolidates the technology centers at this location and serves as a regional center for product development done in interactive fashion with the client. This centralization not only improves recruitment, but increases resource sharing. The Technology Center is also a capabilities showcase for clients who are exposed to the depth and breadth of the company in a high tech environment.
In addition to providing a customer-focused center of excellence, the clients wished to encourage teamwork and skills sharing. With employees from culturally diverse and competitive business units, the project was designed to encourage personal relationships and break down the traditional hierarchical structure present in the region.
The space program includes interactive customer engagement kitchens, research and development labs, office space and related amenities.
Two identifiable wood volumes, one in each wing, give significance to the activities within them: customer engagement kitchens in one and a communal cafe in the other. These volumes also link the separate spaces together aesthetically and are seen from the street below as such. They are a backdrop for a graphics campaign on the exterior walls that vividly proclaim the client’s presence in the space on the street.
The segregated configuration of the tenant space was used as a natural organizer for the client’s programmatic functions. The east wing houses the visitor entry, the customer engagement suites and administrative offices. Accessed by outdoor bridges, the west wing houses the communal coffee bar, research labs and their associated offices. A customer route was crafted to protect intellectual property while putting research on display. A brightly colored wall serves as a threshold to the labs and a backdrop for a graphics program coordinated with that of the exterior walls.
The communal cafe is located in the center of the plan, in a room that extends out over the street below. The daylight filled space allows for a lively collaboration of work, which was not conducive previously.
The project was accomplished by a U.S. firm without an office overseas. The project team collaborated carefully with the chosen design build firm to ensure that concept and detail alike were executed as intended.
The project was designed and constructed in eight months. This time frame included preliminary site selection, programming and detailed design of the technical spaces. These spaces were finely tuned to specific technologies, eliminated redundancies and permitted resource and equipment sharing. Lean programming and planning was critical in one of the world’s most expensive real estate markets.
Photos: CI&A Photography
Architect: Destree Design Architects, Inc.
Owner: Erdman Enterprises
Contractor: Krupp General Contractors
In the spirit of the Usonian tradition, the Prairie Café Building was inspired by the surrounding landscape of the Midwest and the architectural and philosophical traditions of Frank Lloyd Wright. Our challenge was designing on an unusual shaped lot in the center of an active and growing neighborhood. The result is an arced building anchored at one end with a classic Prairie-Style flat roof and a soaring prow at the other. Deep, overhanging eaves punctuate the ends invoking a sense of strength, shelter and protection. The two points are gracefully connected by the single-story curved segment with a wide ribbon of expansive picture windows detailed with horizontal mullions. Dividing the windows are brick colonnades topped by geometric cast stone capitals. Though originally envisioned with a stone façade, iron-spot brick with a heavy, exposed, concrete base was chosen to accentuate the building’s linear character while solidly anchoring it to the ground. Stucco banding and continuous cast stone sills were used to reinforce yet gently interrupt the masonry rhythm. The distinctive detailing of horizontally raked mortar joints, custom-cast concrete medallions and glazed accent tiles add a sophistication and timelessness to this homage to Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. The brick is carried into the interior of the café space for continuity and flow. The overall charm of this building is enhanced by the character, warmth and tonal variety of its masonry components. The Prairie Café Building is the perfect addition to this quaint, welcoming community and is an anchor to Middleton Hills’ social center.
Photos: Zane Wiliams Photography
Architect: Johnsen Schmaling Architects
Owner: Katz Properties, Inc.
Contractor: JM Construction
Located at the northern edge of downtown Milwaukee and overlooking Lake Michigan, Prospect Pool is a small architectural intervention to reinvigorate the stale aura of Prospect Towers, a 23-story apartment complex built in 1963 whose original epicurean luster had faded considerably over time by wear and tear and the changing demographics of its residents.
As an integral part of the comprehensive structural overhaul of the concrete parking plinth supporting the apartment tower, we designed a new outdoor pool deck, creating a distinct building amenity that takes full advantage of the panoramic views of the lakefront and complement the architecture of the original building itself.
The project consists of a number of clearly defined architectural components, designed to accommodate a variety of spatial conditions, strengthen the perimeters of the pool deck, and allow for adequate levels of privacy and exposure. The tower opens into a covered, two-story public terrace carved out of the base of the tower. A series of thin, continuous light strips mark the building entrance, illuminating the building’s blank, two-story stair shaft before folding into the floor. Wide, processional steps lead from the terrace down to the open pool deck, where two rows of cabanas, carefully detailed installations that serve as sheltered outdoor rooms, bracket the center pool and provide a backdrop against which the curious rituals of pool-side life, vacillating between activity and repose, between exhibition and inhibition, can unfold.
The cabanas are simple, componentized structures, shop-built and set in place by a crane to expedite construction time. Each cabana consists of a steel frame supporting a cantilevered, louvered roof plane, a thin white brise-soleil seemingly floating between the wood-clad shear walls separating the individual rooms. Curtains can be drawn or retracted to achieve the desired levels of privacy and shade, their white, undulating fabric and delicate texture adding a sensual dimension to the cabanas’ exacting details and geometric discipline.
Prospect Pool exemplifies how a small but precise architectural intervention can re-energize a large-scale structure widely viewed as dated and worn, offering a sustainable alternative to today’s increasingly ubiquitous tabula rasa approach, where buildings at the perceived end of their useful lives get annihilated instead of being re-imagined and given a second chance to adapt to a changing world.
Photos: John J. Macaulay
Architect: Flad Architects and Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects
Owner: Indiana University
Contractor: The Hagerman Group
Indiana University is a beautiful campus steeped in a deep wooded setting where majestic buildings of Indiana limestone speak of an enduring legacy through a material of permanence. The Jacobs School of Music East Studio Building incorporates this rich architectural history into the final design.
The East Studio Building was designed as a metaphor for the musical experience. A fluid movement of rich textures define our path as we move through the site, continuing into the building in a gently fluid movement.
The façade of the building is articulated through the rhythm of the windows and curved stone forms.
Situated along the south edge of campus, the structure’s corner tower signals entry into the campus and entry into the building.
As one of the most comprehensive and acclaimed institutions for the study of music, the East Studio Building plays a key role in educating performers, scholars, and music instructors who influence performance around the globe.
Faculty teaching studios, practice rooms, classrooms, student spaces, and administrative offices are brought together here to extend the school’s rich history into the future.
Photos:Susan Fleck Photography
Architect: Hirsch Group Architecture
Owner: Wingra Schools
Contractors: Supreme Structures
This well thought-out structure integrates innovative and standard materials, seamlessly merging form and function simply and forcefully.
The client, Wingra School, an elementary school in Madison, Wisconsin, requested a structure designed to advance their goal of students learning from nature. What was envisioned was a fun place to sit, think & learn, adaptable, light and airy.
With a first glance this outdoor classroom structure immediately delivers what is asked of it: providing a pleasant, sheltered, flexibly defined outdoor classroom for young learners. Beyond that goal, it delivers additional design value on several levels: aesthetic, psychological, architectural, structural, and educational - it is a classroom first, and last.
Aesthetically, the structural use of the repurposed trees, with inherent natural shapes and textures, echoes living trees in the wooded neighborhood. Trees in their original form make the structure a welcome neighbor.
Psychologically , the use of repurposed trees as roof supports conveys feeling of a sturdy sheltering atmosphere, a legacy of trusted association with trees, even among the youngest intended users.
Architecturally , the tree supports and their geometry in plan effortlessly define the space as they might in a clearing in a forest.
Structurally , the vertical wooden supports remain intact as trees and retain and repurpose every bit of the strength grown into (or built into, said another way) by the tree itself. The trees are structural elements, capable of load bearing equal to conventional timbers.
Educationally, as an outdoor classroom suggests, teaching about the natural environment will be on the lesson plan.
Photos: Paul McMahon
Architects: Dental Associates Family and Specialty Care, LLC and Iconica
Owner: Dental Associates Family and Specialty Care, LLC
Contractors: Spray-O-Bond and Iconica
Dental Associates was looking to move its corporate headquarters from Wauwatosa to downtown Milwaukee to reinforce its commitment as a Milwaukee based company. The site would also house a new clinic location, so a corner with high visibility was sought after. The idea of an historic structure coincided with Dental Associates’ thoughts on its own longevity in Milwaukee.
The Iron Block Building was in desperate need of restoration when Dental Associates purchased the property in early 2012. The last standing Wisconsin building with facades made entirely of cast iron, years of neglect had rendered much of the interior unusable, and exterior deterioration had caused unsafe conditions to pedestrians as pieces of the building frequently fell to the public sidewalk. After a previous renovation in 1983, many of the replacement parts did not stand the test of time. Made from aluminum, wood and foam, the restored parts actually made the condition of the cast iron facades worse.
The first phase of the restoration was started in August of 2012. It was decided to renovate the exterior first, and then move to the interior when the roof and facades were stabilized. The first order of business was to remove any parts from the building that were not original. Any original parts that were easily removable were also taken off in order to deal with rust that was trapped behind. An enclosed scaffold was erected around the Wisconsin Avenue and Water Street facades. The exterior was sandblasted down to bare metal in small sections, and zinc primer was applied before oxidization could begin anew. The building was repainted with a two-coat epoxy system in small sections through the winter of 2102/2013, in a color scheme determined by historical and forensic analysis. In the meantime, patterns were being milled in order to fabricate any missing or deteriorated pieces from cast iron. Working from photographs and on-site investigation, the team was able to recast approximately 4,200 new pieces, using 97 new wood patterns. The sand casting took place at local foundries in Beloit and Milwaukee.
The roof was a complete tear off, and the new work included the construction of a stair to access the roof, where a new deck was constructed. The roof was also reinforced to carry two new HVAC units for the new heating and cooling system, along with a backup generator and solar panels. The pediments and cornice were all reconstructed to match the detail and proportion of the 1860 roofline, reversing unfortunate modifications that had all but obscured its original beauty.
Once the exterior was complete, the interior renovation started in earnest. The interior had been stripped of all historic character during the 1983 renovation, so the intention was to regain some of the charm of the interior spaces, most notably an atrium that was constructed when an addition was built to the south of the original building in 1899. The building is not only the new corporate headquarters for Dental Associates; it is also a multi-floor clinic, so the entire infrastructure for 28 dental operatories had to be added. All of the mechanical systems in the building were in poor shape and had to be replaced. Structural work was necessary to add an additional elevator and to reorganize some of the spaces to accommodate modern office functions. The existing elevator had to be completely rebuilt including the replacement of the piston and shaft casing. Again using photographs, the new interior materials and finishes echo the style of the original building while maintaining a modern feel.
Dental Associates rescued an important Milwaukee landmark from certain demolition, and meticulously restored it to its pre-Civil War elegance. The effort in such a highly visible location has spurred resurgence in the Eastside Commercial Historic District where the building stands.
Photos: Mike Rebholz Photography and Quadrant Inc.
Architect: Bruns Architecture
Contractor: Yahara Builders
Located at the bend of a meandering river, Rock River House is designed to provide its owners with panoramic views of the glistening water below and forested nature preserve beyond. The family had admired the small, overgrown site for years, recognizing its potential at the end of a quiet street a few blocks from town. The program is deftly organized on the narrow wedge of land to create a delightfully functional collection of outdoor spaces while conserving the narrowest tip of the parcel as a view corridor for the community.
The house is assembled from a collection of stepping volumes that recall the nearby crescent shaped waterfall edge. With two distinct personalities, the composition modulates its apparent scale. From the street, the construct fits amicably into the modest fabric of the neighborhood as a series of furniture-like wood boxes, but unfolds into a transparent lens affording uninterrupted views to the water beyond. Wall and ceiling planes are arranged carefully to display protean reflections of sunlight off the water. The entry sequence begins through a solid wood door affixed with a custom handle shaped as an abstract of the site. Once inside, a scenic view is framed by wooden millwork elements. As circuitous as the river below, a ribbon of mahogany weaves the two levels of spaces together. Beginning in the sunlit conservatory, the wood band continues over the kitchen and entry before wrapping down to become a folded wood stair that ascends to the art studio and terrace above. Commanding views of the flora and fauna inspire the owner’s own artwork.
The façade is clad in reclaimed redwood salvaged from a decommissioned local civic building. Varying in dimension, the original boards were re-milled to achieve maximum yield. Portions of the material were then wire brushed, creating subtle texture and depth that is composed into larger surfaces to further reduce the scale of the structure. Stone harvested from a neighboring Wisconsin quarry completes the succinct exterior palette.
The glazing is specifically engineered to reflect winter heat inward while rejecting summer solar gain, while maximizing visible light transmittance for optimal views to nature. The opaque envelope is insulated with continuous insulation and closed-cell expanding foam to reach average R-values of 31 and 56 for walls and roofs respectively.
Photos: Tricia Shay Photography
Architect: Mead & Hunt
Owner: State of Wisconsin - Division of Facilities Development and UW Whitewater
Contractor: Miron Construction Co., Inc.
This project began as a master plan to renovate six 1960s-era residence halls clustered together on the west side of the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater campus. The planning goals were to provide an updated image for all six halls, and incorporate key components of the campus mission for Universal Design, thus exceeding basic ADA guidelines. The pre-design study provided a detailed physical assessment of all six buildings. The intention was to then bring two of the six forward as the first phase of a renovation/addition project. Instead of the typical single addition to each building that had been done in prior residence hall renovations, the solution constructed a “Link” building between two existing buildings, The building link solution provided numerous benefits: offering more social spaces, elevator redundancy, a defined front entry offering secure access, consolidating front desk services, added 40 new beds, and, most importantly, allowed access for all students to visit and live on all floors.
This project renovated Arey & Fricker Residence halls. Both are a four-story plus basement, (28,359/47,733 ASF/GSF) residence hall constructed in 1963 and 1964. The project adds 19,835 GSF to connect the two halls and provide program space. The project renovated existing rooms, renewed building finishes, replaced windows and exterior doors, enlarged and reconfigured restrooms, addressed deferred maintenance, replaced the roofs, addressed health and safety code compliance issues, replaced MEP systems, provided standby power and added fire sprinklers throughout.
The design team’s approach to implementing both the initial study and the design process was critical to achieving the goals and objectives of the university and the team’s design solutions. Using a highly transparent process allowed for input and discussion from various project stakeholders. These stakeholders included UW-Whitewater residence hall directors, students with disabilities, resident life administration, current students, recent alumni, campus planning and facilities managers, with the University of Wisconsin System representatives and State of Wisconsin Division of Facilities Development (DFD) project managers.
To meet DFD’s long, life-cycle requirements, the Link building’s exterior envelope is a CMU rain-screen construction. The skin then offers complimentary materials of metal panels, cast stone and curtain walls to distinguish new areas from the adjoining, existing brick masonry buildings. Dark bronze windows, roof caps, and metal panels on the “Link” match similar components on the existing buildings to tie the three areas together. Dark bronze canopies distinguish the entries and provide covered outdoor gathering areas.
The challenges of this project were meeting the expectations of universal design, current code and modern amenities of a new residence hall while also aligning with the existing building constraints and a 7’- 8 5/8” floor-to-ceiling height. All new mechanical, plumbing, and technology systems were carefully coordinated to distribute horizontally in the lower level ceiling, where the headroom was less constrained, and then run vertically to each of the floors with repetitive floor plans. Electrical routing was then weaved horizontally through the floors. Early design BIM modeling and intense field-constructed mock-ups were used to provide successful, accelerated installations.
Interior spaces were upgraded with bright pops of color, “sweater-y” carpet textures, bold tile accent walls and integrated door-frame marker-boards at each resident room. Dark bronze metals, door frames and window frames tie the historic, mid-century modern vocabularies to the new. Open, group shower areas were replaced with private stalls and changing areas. The lower levels were transformed to trendy areas for students to hang out, with an open game room and kitchen, semi-quiet and quiet study areas, laundry and vending rooms, a multipurpose room and a computer lab.
The design team also took special care to provide additional Universal Design features at the interior. These features include ADA residence rooms on all floors, a double ADA residence room, so students in wheelchairs can have roommates, a private, accessible toilet/shower room on each floor, swing-clear hinge replacements on existing residence room door frames and ADA compliant operable windows for all rooms.
Photos: Image Studios, Inc.
Architect: Galbraith Carnahan Architects
Contractor: Eschweiler Construction Management
This structure was designed to provide an intimate gathering space within a tranquil backyard garden. Adjacent to the pool, this area had to provide shelter for the owners with enough flexibility to host varying sizes of gatherings. The paramount concern in the design was not to overwhelm the already stunning backyard setting. Any decisions made in the shape and size of the structure were weighed carefully against their impacts on the overall whole.
The precisely detailed shelter pulled many of its cues from the existing house including copper metalwork and clean white stucco walls. The warm wood structure was an ideal platform for a vegetated roof. Visible from the 2nd floor bedrooms, this green roof helps to blur the lines between garden and structure.
This project demonstrates that thoughtful simplicity and careful, precise, detailing can elevate something as programmatically simple as a pool shelter into a profound work of Architecture.
Photos: Alloy Photography
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Architect: Flad Architects
Owner: State of Wisconsin -Division of Facilities Development
Contractor: CG Schmidt, Inc.
The dynamic imagery of the Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Complex (IRC) is an assemblage of components, a metaphor for the research and innovation happening within. As the first new science building to be completed on campus in 20 years, the Kenwood IRC occupies a prominent location on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus, making a progressive architectural statement that celebrates the importance of participation in the sciences. With a goal of continued advancement of research, education, collaboration, and outreach, this structure anchors a new science quad and sets the stage for a site that is connected, interactive, and interdisciplinary.
Located in a dense urban campus setting, the Kenwood IRC is uniquely sited along a major east-west pedestrian thoroughfare, presenting a significant design opportunity to engage and interact with the campus community. Given the cold climate that persists through much of the academic year, a two-story ground level lobby generously accommodates an interior route while an outdoor loggia along the southern façade provides a covered walking path during warmer months. The lobby has emerged as a place where students stop and study between classes; the building’s public areas are always active and vibrant.
The five-story, state-of-the-art facility is a machine for investigation into numerous scientific disciplines ranging from physics to biology to chemistry. These cross-disciplinary research endeavors are supported by flexible laboratory designs and abundant collaboration space. The facility’s design is targeting a minimum of LEED Gold certification with a wide range of strategies benefitting the environment, users of the building, and the region as a whole.
Photos: Lendrum Photography and Hedrich Blessing Photographers
Architect: Potter Lawson, Inc.
Owner: Fiduciary Real Estate Developmen
Contractor: Stevens Construction
The Domain Apartment complex is a 440,000 square foot multi-tenant luxury residential apartment building featuring studios to two bedroom apartments and designed to draw young professionals to Madison’s diverse downtown. Amenities such as underground parking, fitness center, community room and rooftop pool deck have been introduced in the design to promote social interaction among the tenants. The secluded pool and outdoor deck have a variety of seating options, grilling stations and a fire place that offer residents and guests a great way to meet and interact with other occupants. This is further accomplished by the eleventh floor community room and walk-out rooftop terrace that frames views of downtown Madison and Lake Monona.
The project is an infill development on an underdeveloped tight urban site. The existing two and three story apartment buildings ranging in age from forty five to eighty years old were deconstructed to make way for the new facility. The new development is located at the corner of West Johnson and Broom Streets and extends mid-block to Dayton Street. One of the unique challenges of the project is that the site, located in the Downtown District, straddles the height restriction boundaries established by the City of Madison Zoning Ordinance. The building is twelve stories tall along Johnson Street and steps down to six stories along Broom Street and Dayton Street. Reducing the scale along the more pedestrian friendly streets is enhanced by providing additional elevational setbacks, walk-up apartment units, planters and planting beds. A composition of masonry and metal panel types that mesh with the Mifflin Street aesthetic.
The main entrance into the development is situated at the highly visible corner of Johnson and Broom Streets and commands a presence on the busy corner by introducing a five story glass and metal panel volume that is set off from the adjacent masonry exterior of the apartment complex.
The increased resident population in the neighborhood created by this development also greatly impacts the local economy and businesses in the downtown neighborhood. Shops and restaurants all benefit from the influx of this younger generation willing to experience what downtown Madison has to offer. Overall, this project, with its residential unit mix of studio to two-bedroom units, provides opportunities to new downtown residents and also serves the needs of long-term downtown citizens.
This new urban infill development successfully blends the needs of the developer to offer competitive market rate rental units while also improving the fabric of the City and creating an impactful addition to the neighborhood through thoughtful design.
Photos: C&N Photography
Architect: Vetter Denk Architects
Located on a lake outside of Milwaukee, the Vessel House is the culmination of an intense 5-year collaboration with our client and multiple local craftsmen focused on the creation of a modern analogue to the Usonian Home.
As with most residential work, this home is a direct reflection of it’s owner, a highly educated art collector with a passion for music, fine furniture, and architecture. His interest in authenticity drove the material selections such as masonry, copper, and white oak, as well as the need for traditional methods of construction.
The initial diagram of the house involved a collection of embedded walls that emerge from the site and create spaces between them, which are covered with a series of floating rooves. The windows provide natural light on three sides of the house as a band of clerestories, transforming to a floor to ceiling ribbon of glass on the lakeside.
The Vessel House functions as a gallery for the owner’s art, motorcycles, Tiffany lamps, and vintage musical instruments – offering spaces to exhibit, store, and listen. These gallery nodes overlap with the typical house program of kitchen, dining, living, and bedroom, creating dynamic zones of transition and rooms that serve dual purposes allowing guests to relax in a museum setting.
Through it’s materiality, connection to nature, and open planning, the Vessel House continues many of the Usonian principles Wright advocated for.
Photos: Ryan Hainey
How to get published . . .
Submit your best work to the annual AIA Wisconsin Design Awards program.
Along with the winners, submitted projects will be unveiled throughout the year and featured in the Wisconsin Architect Gallery.
Design Awards Deadline: mid-January
Materials Due: mid-February
Faulkner Phase 1, B Bay Renovation
Architect: Foundation Architects, LLC
Owner: HellermannTyton Corporation
Contractor: J.H. Hassinger General Contractors
Renovate or build new? Apprehension of “can it look new?” surrounded discussions of re-purposing the existing 1970’s, light industrial metal building into a state-of-the-art industrial prototype center to showcase the client’s conversion to an integrated design approach. The existing building had been added onto several times since the original building was constructed. Fast paced growth resulted in teams of individuals scattered across different areas, floors and buildings. There was not a cohesive flow, look and feel to the internal organization and architecture. The building did not reflect the Owner’s global vision or image. The Owner and Architect collaborated to create a Masterplan to consolidate all office and pre-production functions within the existing 114,000 square foot facility.
This project is Phase 1 of the Masterplan. It adapted 16,303 square feet into a prototype center and 2,336 square feet over two existing floors becoming a mix of meeting space and offices for three departments. The owner’s goal was to showcase their manufacturing capabilities to prospective clients, focusing on the integrated efficiency of engineering, quality control, and tool making departments in the creation of custom prototypes. And, of course, the owner wanted cost effective durable products with finishes that were in keeping with the Masterplan’s design concepts.
The architectural solution became a series of design gestures integrating art and science overlaid on a framework of renovation and repair. Beginning with cost effective, durable finishes as the back drop, custom art, LED fixtures, perforated metal sound-absorbing ceilings and high tech skylights bring the architecture to life.
Former chain-link enclosed areas and mezzanine transformed into offices with overlooking views down to the tool room floor with which they closely work. Stacking offices within the existing mezzanine space enhanced proximity and relationships of design and production departments.
Strategic interventions to add skylights and floor to ceiling openings in the exterior wall open up the space with natural light and views, something uncommon to this industry. Removal of “dead” items, re-organization of existing MEP systems and enclosing utility areas with durable metal wall panel forms add visual clarity of purpose to the renovated space.
Dark, oily maintenance shop areas became clean, bright collaborative offices on the floor with the prototype personnel. Linear silver perforated ceiling clouds and corresponding resinous flooring bring focus to the manufacturing processes organized between them.
Three custom office wall art murals were designed with employee involvement, creating meaningful images that link employee to architecture. Bold colors, oversize text graphics and murals serve as branding and wayfinding, integrated with the architecture to define a path from the War Room to the Prototype Center. During sales tours the unique corporate story is reinforced through these architectural details.
Photos: John J Korom Photography
Owners: SSM of Wisconsin & Dean Health System
SSM Healthcare of Wisconsin (SSM) and Dean Health System (DHS) formed a partnership in the community of Janesville, Wisconsin, with the goal of providing greater access to coordinated healthcare in a patient-centered environment. The Owner desired to engage a single team to program, plan, design and deliver a comprehensive community medical campus, located at the intersection of Interstate 39/90 and Highway 11 on the southeast side of Janesville. The project includes a 163,000 square foot, 50-bed hospital and a 150,000 square foot clinic. The hospital program includes: 50 private rooms, including an intensive care unit, medical-surgical care, labor delivery recovery and postpartum rooms; emergency department, surgery, diagnostics, laboratory, pharmacy, support and food services, administrative and public spaces. The clinic programs include exam and treatment spaces serving primary and specialty care, including oncology in an outpatient, patient-centered medical home model. To the extent possible permitted by building codes and licensure requirements, the team was challenged to integrate functions, increase flexibility and efficiency, and maximize business occupancy type spaces over institutional type spaces to conserve costs while emphasizing a patient-centered design aesthetic over an institutional environment. The campus was also master planned to grow to a 200 bed hospital and double the size of the clinic.
The site had been identified by advance planning (completed by the same team, 10 years earlier) to align the real estate goals and objectives with the organization’s strategic plan, ensuring the right services were in the right location for the right cost at the right time. Implementation of the project on this site was done by validation of the strategic plan in concert with site master planning to ensure the future expansion needs were not compromised by the current program. The planning and design team had to address stacking of the program in order to minimize the footprint of development on the site while preserving prominent features of the existing landscape. Daylighting and views and orientation of the program on the site had to be coordinated with points of access from the adjacent interstate and highway.
Evidence-based design (EBD) informed the design solution, and centered on developing a strong connection to nature to reduce anxiety and stress for patients, speed the healing process, improving patient experience and employee satisfaction. The campus was designed to highlight views to the natural surroundings and incorporate nature within through a variety of natural elements and earth-tone decor. Design features include the “Town Square” which is the main point of entry and connection of all program elements to the Healing Garden beyond. A variety of oversized and floor-to-ceiling windows are strategically place to afford scenic views of Janesville’s landscape and exterior healing gardens. Paint, furniture, and other interior elements draw on natural color palettes, patterns, and textures. Local artists were commissioned to create pieces to make the space feel warm and familiar to patients, and to serve as a positive distraction. One example is a sculpture that was designed for the Pediatric department. This tree evokes a park environment, is symbolic of growth, honors Janesville’s identity as a “Tree City” and is an effective way-finding landmark. Design of the treatment spaces utilizes an on-stage / off-stage approach, reinforcing the patient experience while maintaining efficient and functional space for staff and support services.
Photos: William P. Wright and PHOTOSMITH
Naas, Co. Kildare, Ireland
Architect: HGA Architects and Engineers
Owner: Kerry Group PLC
Contractor: Gilbane Building Company
The project site is a highly visible 38 acre parcel with 360 degrees of visibility. Nestled in shallow valley with farmland to the north and distant views to the iconic Wicklow mountains, the site affords an opportunity to rest lightly on the land and capture the beauty of its surroundings.
The 240,000 square foot space program includes European corporate offices and amenities for 900 people, research and development labs, customer suites, and an application pilot plant.
The site solution positions the building and parking on a manicured and sculpted green carpet – an interpretation of the land patterns of country farm fields. Staff parking is located north of the building and is shielded from the motorway by an existing dense hedgerow. The building’s all-glass first floor lightly touches this green carpet and allows the landscape and views to pass through the building.
Corporate and business offices and research and development are expressed as solid volumes of buff colored terra cotta that are framed with end walls and a roof edge of dark composite metal panel. These two materials are separated by tall vertical voids of glass that house the building’s stair towers. These towers glow at night and balance the horizontality of the assembly. Horizontal ribbon windows in buildings A and C provide a uniform level of daylighting in the office and laboratory spaces.
The building’s exterior palette references regional vernacular materials in a modern way. The Terra cotta tile cladding was chosen for its refined and modest quality and its reference to vernacular stone barns. The painted metal panel end walls and roof edge frame the terra cotta and define the building on the horizon.
The customer suites, located in a cantilevered volume on the south side of the building, announce themselves to the frontage road and form a covered visitor entry. This dark framed volume is contrasted by the building cores in reflective white glass. The blender-like stair, skylit from above, was designed to encourage communication and foster collaboration between groups and sits between the white glass volumes. Large conference rooms complete the building.
The central utility plant and loading dock is clad in composite metal panel with a large scale terra cotta screen that also serves as a sign. The engineered systems are finely tuned to optimize energy performance and include a solar hot water system, and a combined heat and power plant.
Photos: Donal Murphy Photography, HGA and Gilbane
Owner: Access Community Health Centers
The 22,500 square foot facility includes maternal and prenatal care services, pediatric care, adult and chronic care, dental care, behavioral health services, pharmacy and patient resource services.
Given the available land and related zoning ordinances and development requirements, it was necessary to stack the desired program on two floors. Storm water management requirements had to be balanced with the parking requirements. Urban design guidelines required the building to address the street, which created priorities with how these various requirements would overlay on the building and site design. It also was necessary to accommodate the arrival and departure of patients via the public transportation system, which added “program” and “building” space to the landscape, and its interaction with the streetscape.
The Patient Centered Medical Home Model provided principles for the planning and design response, centered on the integrated care team for primary and specialty care. Because this program has the highest volume of patient visits on a daily basis, these exam and consultation spaces were organized on the first floor. Daylighting and views in the integrated care team space also allowed the exam and consultation rooms to be organized internal to the floor plate, promoting easy wayfinding for patients and an efficient operational process and flow.
Conversely, the dental care spaces were placed on the second floor with the dental treatment spaces organized around the perimeter of the floor plate as evidence based research indicates daylighting and views for dental treatment spaces does significantly reduce patient stress and increases positive perceptions of their encounter.
Photos: William Fritsch & Loren Zemlicka
Architect: Bruns Architecture
Contractor: Yahara Builders
Designed as a peaceful dwelling amid an opus of bird songs, Arboretum House grows out of its forested site within the diverse landscape of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum neighborhood as a cultivated collection of forms that combine to create an architectural ecosystem.
Precise studies of the existing trees and topography informed the placement, size and organization of the house, achieving the goal of minimizing the impact on existing vegetation. Within the resulting footprint, five trees were harvested, dried and milled to become the ceilings, soffits, and stairs - the felled timber will forever be experienced and enjoyed in situ. Portions of the house cantilever out into the site, further reducing the footprint of the structure and reflecting the dense tree canopies above.
At the entry, a floating wood canopy provides shelter as it extends deep into the interior, drawing one’s view through the house to the woodland beyond. Modular wood panels line the primary circulation corridor and extend into the main living hall. The panels are extruded into functional objects, connecting the adjacent spaces with a common vocabulary while they perform various functions. The main living hall rises vertically with clerestory windows, harvesting light on three sides. A covered wood deck and screen porch extend the interior space out into the woodland and share a stone fireplace chimney and hearth with house.
The building’s envelope is composed of high performing closed cell foam insulation that achieves full assembly R values nearly double code requirements, and low-e coated argon-filled glazing within thermally efficient fiberglass frames. Precisely extended roof eaves work in concert with the house’s orientation to utilize the foliage of the surrounding deciduous trees as a natural shading element in the warm summer months. Cross ventilation through carefully placed operable windows eliminates the need for air conditioning. The 3,007 sf of finished space is heated with a hydronic radiant heat system that utilizes the mass of concrete slab floors to maintain a comfortable environment. Throughout the winter, outside air is filtered through a heat recovery ventilator, bringing fresh air into the home without sacrificing thermal performance.
Photos: Tricia Shay Photography
Architect: OPN Architects, Inc.
Contractor: Ideal Builders
The owners of 5th Element Coffee approached the architect to design the company’s first coffee shop. Located in a first-floor unit of a mixed-use building adjacent to a university hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, the owners wanted to create a space that was more than just a conveyor belt of coffee; they wanted a space that promoted customer interaction, with one another, the servers behind the bar, and the physical elements of the space.
Accountability was a driving factor behind the concept of 5th Element Coffee. The design team utilized raw materials to reflect the company’s mission of being real and honest. The bar provides a public place for the community to gather and enjoy coffee and conversation in a rich, warm environment. The coffee bar is designed to build relationships: The barista can make drinks and never has to turn his or her back on the patron during service. Single origin, fair trade coffee is sourced from growers in San Salvador, El Salvador, and local ingredients and suppliers build community and complete the experience.
Old bowling alley lanes were reclaimed and re-purposed for the front bar, larger community tables in the rear, and as accents on the walls. The warm wood transitions to a galvanized sheet steel finish at the point of sale, which is further reinforced in the suspended ceiling plane above the counter made of large scale sheets of steel. This ceiling plane serves to mitigate the sound transmissions to the residential floor above. The walls were left raw, exposing bricks of concrete with steel paneling. The theme of authenticity pulls through every aspect of the design; not a single piece of plastic or drop of laminate was used.
In all, the elegant use of a few honest materials are leveraged to define the space, a design aesthetic in-line with the owner’s farm-to-table principle of using only the most authentic ingredients to create a pure flavor.
Every design decision was intentional; the owners and design team wanted to remind patrons of the connection between our consumption of resources and its impact on the earth. In addition to images of the farmers hung around the coffee shop, other elements reflect the company’s mission to keep things real and honest.
Photo: Main Street Studio
Architect: Ramsey Jones Architects
Contractor: Common Advantage
This high performance and purpose built residence is a highly livable, durable and low operating cost home comfortably nested in an older urban neighborhood. Material textures and details hint at existing Craftsman bungalows, while low-slung linear masses lend modern lines to the structure.
Constrained to the rear corner of the property, and lacking an alley for car access, of great concern was limiting the negative impact of a garage on the front elevation and the interior dead zone often created beyond.
Embracing the ample southern exposure with a U-shaped building abutting setbacks on all four sides, a semi-private entry courtyard was created which buffers the public realm substantially via raised elevation and a planted screen, while still maintaining a light, glassy and transparent façade.
Wrapping these narrow building volumes around the perimeter establishes well day-lighted and naturally ventilated spaces, and cradles the entry courtyard, expanding the perceived square footage of the 1700 SF residence with the direct connection of 16'-0" sliding door panels. This masonry flanked and sheltered space also stretches the seasons as a solar-warmed microclimate in the shoulder months, whereas the covered exterior space provides welcomed shade in the heat of summer.
Depressing the garage and locating it tight against the western edge and tall neighboring building minimized its focal impact on the primary facade, while limiting the interior space adversely affected by its bulk.
Deeply green, the residence incorporates extensive passive and active techniques and systems to minimize initial impact and ongoing costs. Passive systems include natural day-lighting, cross ventilation, ground linked thermal mass concrete floors, green roof systems and microclimate spaces for comfort. Active systems include solar thermal hot water and solar photovoltaic panels on the low-slope roofs.
An existing dilapidated residence on the property was deconstructed and donated as building materials. Reclaimed / repurposed materials include Cream City brick from the Schlitz Brewhouse in Milwaukee, wind-felled pine glu-lams and decking, pickle barrel cypress siding, maple flooring and cedar lined closets.
Photo: Daniel Kabara Photography
Architect: HGA Architects and Engineers
Owners: City of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Public Library Board of Trustees
Contractor: Scherrer Construction Co., Inc.
East Library located on this vibrant downtown site, was designed with attention to a retail philosophy about the high value of the storefront - displaying a new 21st Century library environment as a civic destination, transformed into a relevant communal place. It is a place of intergenerational gathering welcoming the diverse community at large.to gather, read and learn. Prominent features include: the North Avenue “Living Room,” – complete with a donor funded fireplace which literally serves as the hearth for this east side neighborhood. The library is complete with meeting and study rooms; collaboration areas; desktop, laptop and tablet computers for check out increase computer use and customer comfort; and spatial variety creates unique, age-specific spaces filled with deep physical and electronic collections for adults, children and teens. Automatic material handling equipment and express check stations reduce repetitive motions for staff and free up staff time for more personalized, customer centric tasks.
Memorable artifacts of the former library were salvaged and reused to honor the library’s history on the site and to create a sense of place. During demolition, the original Conrad Schmitt Studios-designed slab glass panels were recovered and used as inspiration for the interior material palette, and were reassembled to form an illuminated ribbon of color. Tongue and groove wood ceiling boards were reclaimed to create the ceiling of the children and adult collections. These boards were milled and installed into a custom steel frame to add warmth and intimacy as well as to conceal lighting, sprinklers, HVAC diffusers. Five-inch structural glue-laminated timber beams were also salvaged and fabricated to create laptop bars along the exterior windows and a bench at the main entry.
The library design organizes the collections around a “marketplace” spine to provide customers with convenient access to library staff, reserved materials and express checks for those who want an independent library experience. Mobile displays merchandising new materials and information fill the market place reinforcing this as a “retail” environment. The market is intentionally a high activity area, centralizing noise and patron traffic in a single zone, while allowing noise to dissipate in the quieter areas of the library.
The elliptical, community meeting room is at the heart of the new library. It encourages patrons to circulate around the room and is constructed of translucent channel glass, allowing natural light into the room itself as well as into the library spaces beyond. The room features full height, custom pivot wooden doors on both ends of the room which allow the room to be permeable. Left open, the room invites people to use the room as a quiet reading area; or closed, the room becomes a private space for meetings and programs.
Public art was integrated into the project. The rock and pebble sculptures create exterior seating to enliven the landscape and serves as wayfinding tools for the library’s main entry. Interior artwork includes a topographical map of Milwaukee’s East Side, featured near the entry. A bench, made from a section of an elm tree previously located near the former library entry, cantilevers off of a column and provides lobby seating and a place for contemplation. A third local artist created murals comprised of architectural photos taken near existing Milwaukee Public Library branches, creating a bold graphic treatment for the ceiling of the community room and the prominent wall of the living room.
Photo: JK Fotos
Architect: AG Architecture
Owner: First Federal Bank
Developer: Tarantino & Company
Contractor: Ganther Construction
This financial institution is part of an 18,150 sq. ft., multi-building commercial development on the corner of Moorland Road and Greenfield Avenue, which includes a 6,300 sq. ft. retail building anchored by Starbucks. The goal of the 11,850 sq. ft. bank portion of the project was to provide a signature architectural landmark on this prominent corner in order to serve as a gateway into the City of Brookfield while clearly expressing the bank’s brand as well as the organization’s commitment to the community.
This site was undeveloped for many years due to the unsuitable soil, which included a depth of between 60 and 90 feet of peat. As the team embarked on the project, the levels of peat in the soil posed a major challenge that was addressed by using over 300 driven piles, pile caps and structural slab to support the building.
The design of the two-story building needed to accentuate the visibility of the site, both the importance of the corner location and its function as an entryway into the City of Brookfield from the surrounding communities. Inspired by the curvature of the bank’s flag logo, a curved wall detail serves as the predominant design feature for this structure. In plan, the curve pulls the front entry of the building closer to the high traffic corner while the curve in elevation brings the prominent stone wall to its peak at the entry and main customer circulation path. While the stone wall is rising towards the entry, the glass curtain wall is revealing more of the upper office space as it works its way towards the center of the site.
The stone wall allows the bank to communicate a sense of security, a feature that symbolizes the protection of the valuable contents, while the glass wall maximizes exterior views and provides ample daylighting for the office space. The engineering and construction challenge was creating a curved wall, both convex and sloping upward, while bending the minimal amount of steel. The team carefully calculated the use of as many straight steel members as possible in order to achieve the desired aesthetic.
The lower level of the building includes the retail bank operations, bank offices and three drive-through lanes. The second level provides rentable office space as well as a boardroom to serve the office suites and the bank’s conference functions. A two-story vestibule with a feature wall of custom walnut panels and a signature light fixture that appears to be floating in space provides a dramatic point of entry.
The bank’s interior responds to the staff’s desire to work in a space that champions a unique approach to the evolving style of bank relationships, one that fosters deeper interactions with the broad demographic of today’s bank customers. A more open, barrier free design was created through custom sit-down teller stations that encourage relationship building. The marketing team also wanted the interior to communicate a strong brand presence. A custom metal screen behind the teller stations incorporates the bank branding while providing separation between the front teller stations and the drive-through service area.
The overall design creates a distinct experience for the bank. The building provides a sense of familiarity to bank customers while achieving a signature look, a design that specifically suits the site and location of this branch. A landscaped monument sign is positioned at the intersection of Moorland and Greenfield to reinforce the sense of a gateway entry into the City of Brookfield.
Photo: Tricia Shay Photography
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Architect: Kahler Slater
Owner: University of Wisconsin Department of Facilities Development
Contractor: J.H. Findorff & Son, Inc.
For decades, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Nursing lacked a true home. Despite ranking among the nation’s top nursing programs, it was located within borrowed spaces and a former dormitory dating to the 1920s. As the School’s administrators realized that the lack of architectural identity and places for student interaction would ultimately impact the School’s growth, a new dedicated center for nursing education became an essential requirement to ensure continued and future success.
The new Signe Skott Cooper Hall nursing education building reflects the School of Nursing’s significant history as well as its vision for the future of the profession, by emphasizing its focus on research, innovation, and the creation of collaborative teaching and learning opportunities. It features a variety of shared spaces, from intimate to spacious, that promote student interaction. An engaging palette of materials, comfortable furnishings, and thoughtfully selected lighting enhance the learning environment throughout.
To support the School’s primary mission of training future nursing caregivers, classrooms were designed to complement progressive teaching pedagogies by incorporating cutting-edge technological tools. The School’s conference rooms, research offices, and active learning classrooms are among the largest and most interactive in the state, and the program highlights a realistic simulation suite which allows future nurses to practice procedures in hospital, clinic, and home settings. A 300-seat auditorium, a café, and multi-use rooms for exercise and wellness programs are among the many student and faculty amenities which enrich the teaching and learning experience, and act as community resources which draw in the School’s academic neighbors as well.
In order to foster connectivity with the adjacent Medical and Pharmacy Schools, as well as the University Hospital and the broader campus, the design revolves around a well-defined green space at the center of the site. The quadrangle establishes a collaborative hub for the academic medical campus, while the building’s overall siting at the street edge strengthens outward connections. A welcoming sequence of lobby and gathering areas, flanked by the major program blocks, seamlessly draws users from street to courtyard, while the landscaped plaza and additional green roofs form a cohesive planted tapestry, which enhances the project’s LEED Silver status. The building takes additional advantage of its site by incorporating a recreation path that encircles nearby Lake Mendota, and by providing dramatic views of the campus and city from its upper floors.
In setting the stage for the future, it was important to recognize the School’s history and celebrate its addition to the University campus within the legacy of the Wisconsin Idea, which fosters the importance of public universities’ contributions to the state. Original architectural elements from the 1924 nurses’ dormitory were repurposed throughout the interior, and exterior materials were chosen to reflect the traditional UW-Madison vernacular. Lower levels, carved away to create large communal spaces, are clad in stone in order to anchor the school to the site, while the building’s signature profile feature, a cantilevered wood ‘eyebrow’, shades upper floors and gathering space with its gaze fixed firmly on the horizon.
Representing one of the most innovative nursing education and research facilities in the nation, Signe Skott Cooper Hall School of Nursing enhances collaboration across disciplines with its open design and large teaching and learning spaces. It proudly announces a new era of nursing education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and will impact the future of healthcare in the State of Wisconsin and beyond.
Photos: Todd Brown, Kate Joyce
Architect: Destree Design Architects, Inc.
Owner: Elm Restaurant Group
Contractor: Harmony Construction Management
Located on the Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin, Graft is 4,000 sf and 116 seats. The budget was not specified but came in under one million after construction. Sustainability, quality and community were the key elements emphasized by the client. Given this direction, the architect set out to create warm yet sophisticated gathering place. The inspirational images provided included photos of vineyards, weather-beaten buildings and rustic metal and wood furniture.
The interpretation brought together the elegance of 1940s Paris bistros with grit of industrial salvage. A blanket of weathered brick tile serves as the foundation. Brass, copper and steel provide the neutral palette that’s accented by bold swashes of teal. In the main dining room, the bar takes center stage with its live edge bar top, Tom Dixon Lustre pendant lights and custom steel-pipe bar stools. The opposing wall is illuminated by glowing hive-patterned glass panels punctuating the intimate champagne-velvet banquettes. High ceilings with exposed mechanicals are framed by ornate crown molding in pale metallic bronze.
Overlooking the main dining room from the back is the open kitchen that invites guests to peek into the artistry behind the menu. The lighting is subdued yet dramatic.
The communal toilet rooms are stylish yet playful.
In keeping with the dining area motif, steel pipes, Edison bulbs and rolled steel counters frame the washing stations. Referred to as “saloon meets salon” by the owner, concept and completion of Graft restaurant are woven together seamlessly.
Photos: Tricia Shay Photography
University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
Architect: River Architects, Inc. & SmithGroupJJR
Owner: State of Wisconsin - Division of State Facilities
Contractor: Miron Construction
The goal of this project was to consolidate the various departments of the College of Education and Human Sciences into one location. The departments of English and Foreign Language, which work with the education programs, were to co-locate in the new building, along with student services, which were in several locations on campus. These services include the Student Success Center, Services for Students with Disabilities, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Another key component was the inclusion of twenty-two new general assignment classrooms to replace existing spaces and re-balance the mix on campus. The new classrooms ranged in sizes from 45- to 160-seat rooms with active learning features. The space allocation outlined 114,600 assignable square feet totaling 182,000 gross square feet distributed over four levels.
Located within UW-Eau Claire’s academic core, the new building sits on the eastern edge of the lower campus. The two-acre site is compact and prominent, and is bookended on the north by the Zorn Arena/Kjer Theater/Brewer Hall complex, with Schneider Hall to the south. The west side opens to the central campus mall and is directly across from Schofield Hall. The east side abuts Park Avenue, which serves as the eastern edge of campus, and connects to the historic Third Ward residential district. The generally flat, L-shaped parcel provided approximately 49,000 GSF of buildable area.
The site offered a plethora of opportunities to shape the design solution. The narrow L-shaped rectangular parcel positioned between existing buildings on the north and south, and open to the central campus quad on the west and the historic Third Ward residential district to the east establishes key scale, massing and entrance scenarios. The three entrances and vertical circulation are strategically positioned at the southwest (campus mall), southeast (near parking), and the northeast (campus entrance) to respond to student use and campus planning patterns.
One of the main benefits provided by the narrow and elongated east-west axis site was the extended north and south elevation planes for harvesting this preferred orientation daylight. One of the primary design objectives was to place the highest concentration of students on the lowest floor levels to reduce the vertical circulation congestion at class changes. The main circulation route on the first and second floor is a single loaded, wide hallway on the south face with near floor to ceiling windows for natural light and view opportunities. This memorable route is punctuated with multiple cost-effective two-story open spaces to promote inter-level spatial dialogue.
The exterior design and building massing was derived from a goal to respond to the scale of the adjacent buildings. Schofield Hall, to the west of Centennial Hall, is the symbolic heart of campus. Schofield’s three-story massing is characterized by brick and stone facades articulated with brick pilasters, collegiate Gothic details, and a symmetric rhythm of solid brick wall mass flanking areas of large, punched windows with stone surrounds. Centennial Hall’s four-story design sets the fourth floor back, most notably at the east and west facades, and renders it in cast stone to reduce the appearance of the building’s mass, responding to the immediate context. The three-story massing of the west facade is punctuated by a stone tower recalling the tower on Schofield Hall, which serves as a landmark for the campus. Two-story pilasters frame large glass openings that provide a visual connection between the interior two-story volume of the building lobby and cyber café to the campus green.
The north and east facades use similar devices to reference the building’s context. The north facade is designed in anticipation of the planned demolition of Zorn Arena and Brewer Hall, recognizing that in the future, the north facade will be a prominent campus face. The east facade uses a quieter articulation of punched openings, responding to the residential character of the historic Third Ward neighborhood to the east.
The south facade features a continuous, two-story colonnade, recalling the two-story pilasters found on Schofield Hall. The colonnade provides a sense of scale to the facade while also creating a covered passage connecting Park Avenue and the adjacent Eau Claire community, to Schofield and the heart of the campus green. The curving wall recalls the Chippewa River, the economic origin for the City of Eau Claire, as well as Little Niagara, a meandering creek that is envisioned to be a more prominent feature in the campus Master Plan. The wall also creates a dynamic interior of the public corridor, with eddies for informal collaboration where the curve swells. The juncture of the south and west facades, right above the main student entrance, are the stacked collaborative learning spaces with their curved curtain wall of frit glazing overlooking the central campus quad.
Photos: Critical Eye Photography
Architect: JAKnetter Architects
Owner: Interstate Partners
Contractor: Nicholas & Associates
At the site of an abandoned farm in Pewaukee, WI, we were asked to design a new office building for a developer aspiring to lease space to a corporate client. The secluded land, tucked away in a small wooded area, was virtually surrounded by wetlands. The site had been in ruins for many years waiting for the right client to appreciate the hidden connection to wildlife and the natural surroundings.
Our approach was to respect the history of the parcel and design a corporate building image that was sensitive to its environment. Our first task was to site the new 21,000 sf, two-story office building with a prominent, yet discrete entry sequence. Access to the buildable area was limited to a peninsula-like connection from the main county highway. As a developer-owned building, our design solution centered on maximizing flexible rentable area, multi-tenant capability, parking counts, expansion ability and a market-driven lease rate. We selected natural cut stone from the area, modular brick and horizontal Nichiha cladding for the exterior material palette. The overall design solution created a two-story composition that respected the original estate while creating tremendous views for the open office environment. A four-sided rhythm of punched openings and ribbon window glazing was used to create a visual connection to the wooded setting as well as capture an abundance of daylight. We introduced an asymmetrical entry canopy which provides a termination from the elongated access drive and is designed to be centralized with the future building expansion. The oversized canopy defines the entry and creates a covered walkway from the adjacent parking area. Once in the secured building lobby, a conscious effort was made to use reclaimed barn wood from the existing farm structure in order to pay tribute to the past. Located on the south side of the building, adjacent to the break room, a patio forms an outdoor room that maintains direct connection to the wooded landscape. A simple translucent canopy of wood and Polygal is cantilevered over steel framing to provide overhead cover for open-air meetings and social functions.
Photos: Melissa Impellitteri
Architect: Eppstein Uhen Architects, Inc.
Owner: Zilber Limited
Contractor: KM Development Corporation
ABB is a global leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. Their new 95,000 square-foot, three-story building is the US headquarters for the Drives and Controls business, housing nearly 350 employees in corporate, financial, marketing, sales and technical support functions. The facility epitomizes their clean brand while showcasing their commitment to sustainability.
From the onset of the project, ABB, Inc. had set a standard of design that was required by the building owner, Zilber Property Group (ZPG). ABB challenged the design team to create a building that took advantage of the visibility from the Interstate and communicated a signature presence in the Milwaukee market. As a building that would not be occupied by the owner, the design team faced the critical challenge of tailoring a speculative building to ABB’s needs while ensuring the flexibility and progressive nature of the space for future tenants. As a speculative building in which economies drove the envelope, the design team was challenged to create a building form that was simple, economical and articulated the tenant’s brand and company. The simple, precise building form was a key driver to support the overall flexibility of the interior – including several informal, collaborative meeting areas and private enclaves for focus work to give employees variation in how and where they work depending on daily tasks. A crucial measurement of success for ABB was the requirement that the office needed to earn LEEDâ Gold certification.
For this project, ABB strategically repositioned their mindset; creating a new, open and creative culture to reflect one of their core values “Innovation is ingrained in the DNA of ABB.” From the building framework and simple envelope to the minimalist interior details, it was critical that ABB’s new office represented their culture and new brand. Ultimately chosen for optimal visibility and adjacency to Highway 45 in Milwaukee, building forms were designed in relation to the sun to maximize opportunities for daylight and views. To reinforce ABB’s refined European brand, selected building materials included white aluminum cladding and black manganese iron-spot brick to create building motion from the Interstate. The contrast of the black and white creates a noticeable backdrop and prominent canvas for ABB’s bold red signage – a subtle design aesthetic that becomes recognizable and provides the building with great depth.
Clean lines, bold graphics and a branded palette frame the office space, transitioning seamlessly from the exterior to interior finishes for a cohesive building aesthetic and clear wayfinding throughout the building. The elimination of office hierarchy led to the development of adaptable and collaborative employee work areas for current and future needs to best attract and retain employee talent. Inspired by ABB’s secondary brand colors, the design team created a palette of oranges, blues and greens to define each of the three floors and contribute to the bright Spartan aesthetic desired by client.
Photos: C+N Photography and Tricia Shay
Architect: Performa, Inc.
Owner: St. Norbert College
Contractor: Miron Construction Co., Inc.
The existing 100,000 square-foot John R. Minahan Science Hall, built in the early 1960’s, is located on the north side of the St. Norbert College campus adjacent to the Fox River in De Pere, Wisconsin. This dated facility underwent a major transformation to become a state-of-the-art science center. The project consisted of a complete renovation to the main building with new additions constructed at both the east and west ends, increasing the facility’s size to 160,000 square feet. While the existing structure was stripped down, new construction incorporated large windows that bathe the environments used for teaching and interacting. Now named the Gehl-Mulva Science Center, this project represents St. Norbert College’s most significant capital building project to date. It also serves as the primary home of the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Green Bay Campus. The science center houses physics, math, psychology, geology, biology and chemistry, including faculty offices and lounges. These departments have 45 teaching and research labs, 10 classrooms, 1 large lecture hall, student study lounges, small-group workrooms and informal collaborative spaces, a state-of-the-art greenhouse, science gallery, and displays honoring the scientific contributions of Norbertines. The building is also the home to 38 science faculty that were dispersed throughout the campus as the science program grew from the early 1960’s.
The new construction was set up in two phases. The first phase was the west remodel with the east and west additions and the second phase was the east remodel. The purpose of phasing the project was to allow half of the building to remain open for classes which was a strategy that had to be integrated with the design of the facility. The science center was designed in accordance with LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovation and was awarded LEED Gold status in 2015.
An inventive and thoughtful approach for the Gehl-Mulva Science Center nods both to the college’s roots in the Norbertine tradition and its ongoing participation in the Catholic intellectual tradition. The design is both artful and quintessentially Norbertine, integrating the 900-year old Norbertine tradition with the sciences is “an intersection of faith and reason.” The primary design solution was to architecturally explore faith and reason. Beginning with the axial alignment of the institution’s Old St. Joseph’s Church showcasing the compatibility of faith and reason in the science building’s two story atrium that is utilized for these rich conversations. Bible verses are paired with earthly imagery and thoughtful design throughout the building to further elevate this concept.
The vision of the design addresses dictums for the future scientific discovery of infusion and interaction within the existing historic structure. Infusion refers to the integration of teaching and research throughout the curriculum. Interaction refers to developing interdisciplinary scientific relationships within the college community. When incorporated throughout the curriculum, these concepts produce science graduates who understand the complexities of modern scientific research and possess the knowledge and technical skills to be active participants in the scientific community. The Gehl-Mulva Science Center should be considered for an award for its transformation from a dated building into a 21st century state-of-the-art science facility that enhances the lives of those whom use the facility in both their faith and reason, and its impact on the college and local community.
Architect: Vetter Denk Architecture
Owner: Guest House of Milwaukee
Contractor: Orta Construction
This new pavilion is located in a half-acre urban garden adjacent to a homeless shelter just west of downtown Milwaukee. The modest structure is composed of steel and wood – with special attention paid to the interaction between these two materials. The intentionally exaggerated roof creates a large catchment area, which then directs the water into a cedar-clad cistern used for irrigation. The placement allows for the distribution of the water to the gardens as well as creates a community gathering space. Each year, the pavilion collects 17,220 gallons of storm water within the cistern and adjacent rain gardens and feeds the 60 raised garden beds that are responsible for growing 3,500 pounds of fresh produce. It is an integral component of the shelter’s Urban Agriculture Training Program, which helps residents move on to find related jobs in farming and the food industry. The garden pavilion has become an icon of the urban farm, the homeless shelter and the larger neighborhood.
AIA Wisconsin Design Awards: Honor Award
Jury Comment: “The garden pavilion provides an elegant and clear structural statement that supports its community mission with dignity. This simple economical structure is very carefully proportioned and elegantly detailed. It is inviting, and that befits the pavilion’s social purpose.”
Photos: Vetter Denk & Ryan Hainey
Architect: HGA Architects and Engineers
Owner: Milwaukee Art Museum
Contractor: Hunzinger Construction Company
Located on the shoreline of Lake Michigan, this project at the Milwaukee Art Museum involved a new addition with an entrance at the lakefront and the complete renovation of existing permanent galleries. The museum was built in three phases – the original 1955 building, a 1975 addition for the permanent collection and a 2001 expansion with a new main lobby, changing gallery and lecture hall. The new addition grafted onto the 1970s wing takes the form of a cantilever facing the lake, under which an all-glass first floor allows visual transparency between the building and lakefront. It creates a new waterfront entry atrium with a café, lounges and sculpture galleries with water views while allowing for an expansion of the contemporary galleries as well as a new changing gallery. The new addition is clad in darkened stainless steel panels that harmonize with the color of the existing concrete building and reflects the ever changing light of the water and atmosphere with a diffuse matt finish. Deep-set apertures provide views of the lake, city bluffs and newest wing of the museum. The addition also includes new stairs to a rooftop terrace at the level of the downtown bluff top, allowing pedestrians to walk directly onto the roof from the city, view the lake below and then descend the stairs to the lakefront walk. The existing permanent collection galleries were completely renovated, with new gallery partitions and visitor-friendly organization.
AIA Wisconsin Design Award Winner: Merit Award
Jury Comment: “Understated and functional, the architect creatively organized the new addition to optimize its site and serve as an elegantly simple foil to the existing museum. The new entrance addresses the lakefront simply and calmly.”
Photos: Dustin Dupree and Tom Bamberger
Big Sky, Montana
Architect: Johnsen Schmaling Architects
Contractor: Robert Naert Construction, Inc.
Embedded in the foothills of Big Sky, Montana, with panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains, this new house was designed to rest on the existing foundation walls of an old building damaged beyond repair. Shaped by the surrounding landscape, the house seeks a low profile that follows the lines of the site’s inclining topography and complements it with a series of flat and gently sloping volumes and planes, creating a roofscape that echoes the mountain ridges in the distance. The entry vestibule links the different parts of the home. Kitchen, dining, bedrooms and laundry are consolidated in a one-story volume that opens up to a long south-facing terrace, with its extended roof overhang protecting the house from the elements. Open stairs connect to the gently rising two-story bar intersecting the base volume and terminate in a small observatory, which penetrates the sloping metal shed roof. Large openings – custom sliding glass doors, windows and pivot doors – frame the views of the alpine scenery. The house is clad in charred cedar boards, using a century-old finishing process that functions as a natural preservative and avoids the use of synthetic sealers or stains. The silver-black of the charred surfaces is contrasted by the smoothness and sheen of clear cedar and the corrugated texture of steel cladding designed to age gracefully over time.
AIA Wisconsin Design Award Winner: Merit Award
Jury Comment: “Starting from an existing foundation, this house elegantly sculpts intersecting volumes that open to the views of the surrounding landscape. The architecture of the home is artfully scaled and composed. The new house is carefully integrated into the hillside despite the challenges of using the existing foundation.”
Photos: John J. Macaulay
Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin
Architect: Johnsen Schmaling Architects
Contractor: Barenz Builders
Located in a small enclave of conventional homes in Whitefish Bay, this project represents a reinvention of a prototypical 1967 suburban ranch into a contemporary dwelling. It illustrates how a dysfunctional house with small disconnected rooms can be reclaimed to comfortably accommodate a young family. While the exterior shell was restored and insulated, the interior was completely gutted and reorganized as a series of interconnected spaces. New large openings between previously separated parts help link together the entire house. The existing Lannon Stone fireplace, once freed from abutting walls, transformed into a visually commanding anchor in the center of the house. The second-floor corridor was opened up to become a mezzanine overlooking the main living hall. Thin continuous wood sheathing follows the slope of the vaulted ceiling above the living hall and accentuates the new connection to the second floor. The kitchen and dining area are consolidated as an open space and connected to the living hall with steps along a built-in credenza. Carefully placed skylights frame views of the sky and bring in natural light, as do a pair of large glass sliding doors that connect to the new backyard patio. A wood deck delineates the outdoor dining space before folding up to form a linear bench with a tall back.
2016 Design Award Winner: Honor Award
Jury Comment: “The architect dramatically transformed this house from a cellular set of spaces into a continuous experience across two levels and from inside to outside. The open plan has a perfect amount of spatial definition. The surgical insertion of the bent wood surface is a successful detail.”
Photos: John J. Macaulay
Fox Point, Wisconsin
Architect: The Kubala Washatko Architects Inc.
Contractor: John Sauermilch, Jr. General Contractor, Inc.
This project involved a comprehensive restoration of and sensitive addition to a historic Fox Point home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the house had no major alterations since its original construction in the late 1940s. The extensively researched restoration follows the Historic Preservation Standards established by the Secretary of the Interior. It included replacing the roof, repairing and adding skylights, and reconditioning all windows and doors. A failing radiant heating system was replaced in the concrete floor; and a new geothermal system was installed. Aging and inefficient mechanical systems were replaced with new systems carefully integrated into the historic structure. The pool house addition transforms an undefined open yard into a dynamic rear courtyard with inviting indoor and outdoor spaces. Designed in accordance with National Park Service guidelines, the new addition complements the historic home while clearly being differentiated from the original structure. The swimming pool was added in the approximate location drawn on Wright's original plans.
AIA Wisconsin Design Award Winner: Merit Award
Jury Comment: “A beautiful and sensitive restoration, with an addition that supports and enhances the original home. The architect’s design solution is a model for the creative integration of modern energy efficient mechanical systems into a historic structure.”
Photos: Mark F. Heffron
St. Germain, Wisconsin
Architect: Johnsen Schmaling Architects
Contractor: J&J Lee Construction Co. Inc.
This small, unassuming family retreat sits atop a steep bluff overlooking Alma Lake in northern Wisconsin. The cabin is organized as a series of three identically sized nearly opaque boxes separated by spatial voids. A continuous thin roof plane spans the entire length of the building. The “storage box” offers space for canoes, tools and logging equipment. The “service box” contains the cabin infrastructure, including entry, kitchen, bathroom, laundry and boiler room. The “sleeping box” houses two bunk rooms. The void between the storage and service boxes is unenclosed, framing views from the clearing toward the lake. The void between the service and sleeping boxes functions as the hearth room, with the center of the cabin anchored by a wood-burning stove. The wide lift-slide glass doors bracketing the hearth room allow for unobstructed views through the building from the outside and into the wooded landscape from within. The project utilizes a palette of regionally sourced materials. The boxes are clad with blackened pine planks. Varnished cedar accentuates the continuous horizontal reveal between the building boxes and the roof plane. With a durable polished dark-grey concrete floor, the interior walls and ceilings are clad in crisply detailed knotty pine.
AIA Wisconsin Design Awards: Honor Award
Jury Comment: “The cabin has an abstract and artful quality without sacrificing function. Careful material choice and detailing reinforce the effect. The rigor of the material palette and massing creates a profound retreat in the woods.”
Photos: John J. Macaulay
Architect: Eppstein Uhen Architects, Inc.
Owner: WTS Paradigm
Contractor: Ideal Builders
As a new corporate headquarters in Middleton for a vibrant software company, this project repurposed a windowless medical equipment production space into a dynamic work environment – increasing employee engagement and efficiency while accommodating future growth. Reflecting the highly technical and abstract nature of its work, the new office supports collaboration and sharing of information. To represent the company’s experience in the building materials software industry, the workspace features unique and local materials used in original ways. The design solution balances work intensity with social areas to encourage high quality results in an exciting relaxed environment. At the heart of the space is a large central gathering area flexible enough to host company-wide events. It is surrounded with breakout meeting spaces that allow for choice in working environments and provide energy and animation. Simple everyday materials were used to create visual effects and encourage interaction. The interior features barn doors made from old hemlock planks once supporting roofs at the Badger Ammunition Plant and hardware fashioned from steel pipe from Cave of the Mounds. Lighting is used to highlight materials, texture and color and to provide a more theatrical feel.
AIA Wisconsin Design Awards: Merit Award
Jury Comment: “An energetic interior within a simple industrial building, the architect created a non-traditional workplace that offers uplifting choices and enhances the human experience. Color has been used with purpose – in clever and simple ways – to provide a variety of work space options within a new interior landscape.”
Photos: C+N Photography
Architect: Ramsey Jones Architects
Contractor: Lakeshore Carpentry
Situated on the Lake Michigan shore at lake level, this new beach cottage is designed to take full advantage of its unique, but challenging, site. Floodplain constraints and wetland considerations limited options, resulting in decision to demolish an existing “beach shack” and construct a narrow cottage on a new building pad pushed tight to the eastern setback. Arriving via an arcing boardwalk, the central opening through the structure creates a framed view of the immense lake beyond. Wide sliding glass panels on each side of the main living space open to the yards front and back. The narrow width of the cottage and ample openings provide natural daylighting and easy cross ventilation. Clerestory windows wash the Douglas fir ceiling deck in a warm ambient glow of reflected sunlight. The covered central opening separates the main cottage from the screened bunkhouse, offering a quiet getaway for guests as well as a special setting for large dinners at the harvest table. The wooden deck and stone patios expand the exterior space for sunning, lounging or enjoying a sunrise over Lake Michigan, with a sandy beach only 100 feet away. The sound of crashing waves, light reflected off the water onto the ceiling through the clerestory windows and an afternoon breeze passing gently through the massive openings on each side of the cottage all combine to create a truly unique sense of place.
AIA Wisconsin Design Award Winner: Honor Award
Jury Comment: “This project optimizes the opportunity of its site. The structural clarity and simple massing of this house creates beautiful conditions of light and threshold.”
Photos: Daniel Kabara Photography
Town of Port Washington, WI
Architect: Wydeven Architects LLC
Photos: Edmunds Studios Photography
Architect: Flad Architects
Owner: UW Health
Contractor: J.H. Findorff & Son, Inc.
UW Health at The American Center is a new 42-acre health and wellness campus. With a strong focus on preventive care and wellness, the campus is the new home to UW Health’s orthopedic practice, as well as providing high-quality ambulatory, clinic, and emergency services.
The overarching vision for the campus was to create a wellness community, supportive of the healing process and fostering continued healthy lifestyles. The campus was designed to be easily navigable, walkable, and incorporate transparency to healthy activities. The new environment presents an atmosphere and experience that inspires patients, family, and staff alike to the benefits of healthy lifestyles.
The project site offered unique opportunities to preserve open space, views, and other natural features. The desire to preserve mature trees and a wooded knoll created a need to strategically place building structures and the helipad to avoid conflict. In order to optimize the project’s final build-out potential, future phases were taken into account when incorporating the site’s natural features.
Understandable and intuitive wayfinding was essential in creating an exceptional experience for patients, visitors, and staff. One main point of arrival was created for visitors by means of a teardrop court and a focal healing garden. The 280-foot long entrance canopy is curved with multiple columns to match the center wing’s curvature and is cantilevered off steel columns in both directions, designed to facilitate the drop-off sequence and provide both inpatient and outpatient entries. Between the two entries is a dedicated interior promenade that becomes the primary building circulation. This welcoming two-story promenade features a full-height curtain wall glazing that bathes the lobby area in natural light and serves as a focal point for the entire facility. Sports and wellness programs such as the gymnasium, demonstration kitchen, and pool are placed along the arrival court to increase visibility through the transparency of the building and encourage healthy activity.
The design vision was to create opportunities for accessible outdoor spaces and to take advantage of any opportunity to bring natural light and views into the building. Other elements such as natural colors and materials, artwork, and comfortable lighting further support reduced stress and anxiety. The interior design and selection of materials are compatible with the exterior building and site design to provide a cohesive and seamless whole health design. The connecting passageways between various departments are wide and take advantage of natural light whenever possible, creating an airy and dynamic aesthetic.
Central to the entire design process was the commitment to a completely patient-focused care model. Many areas within the building were designed with outward viewing opportunities. The built environment and landscape design provide relief, respite, and easy pedestrian-level access. All inpatient rooms have a view of the carefully preserved tree line and pastoral landscape or of the beautifully landscaped green roof on the southwest end of the building.
The building’s modern exterior is made up of a combination of natural-colored building materials to highlight various components of the facility. Warm-colored terra cotta cladding is used throughout on the lower levels and the east and west vertical building cores. An indigenous gray limestone base wraps the entire facility and white acid-etched architectural precast panels accent the upper floors of all three wings. Expanses of curtainwalls are used to provide a high level of transparency and connection between interior and exterior environments.
The interior design complements the exterior architectural features and materials. The use of large expressions of clean and modern materials such as terrazzo, glass, metals, and wood veneered walls and ceilings reinforces the high-technology procedures to be performed in the new facility. Warm wood tones and soft hues of sky blue accents create a relaxing calm environment.
Design elements were configured to create a comfortable, inviting, and dynamic rooftop garden adjacent to the dining facility. Decoratively curved concrete walls provide additional seating for diners to separate walking paths throughout the garden and green roof, backing up the stone landscape walls. At almost an acre in size, a green roof and associated landscaping was designed as an integral part of the facility’s user experience and highlights UW Health’s commitment to sustainable design and construction.
Photos: Hedrich Blessing Photography and Philip Prowse Photography
Architect: Eppstein Uhen Architects, Inc.
Owner: Milwaukee World Festival
Contractor: Hunzinger Construction Company
The BMO Harris Pavilion is a 10,000-capacity contemporary stage at Henry W. Maier Festival Park – home to the World’s Largest Music Festival. Summerfest is an 11-day outdoor music festival with 11 stages, over 1,000 performances and an attendance of nearly 1 million fans annually. The new stage transforms the acoustical and viewing experiences for park visitors, combining superior production capabilities, large video screens and a contoured seating bowl. The BMO Harris Pavilion has recently had the honor of hosting various musical superstars, including Kip Moore, REO Speedwagon, Ray LaMontagne, Sheryl Crow, LL Cool J and Foreigner.
This distinctive and appealing structure has helped anchor the under-utilized south end of the festival grounds. As Henry W. Maier Festival Park is used for various events throughout the summer, construction of the new stage could not conflict with Summerfest’s festival season – only leaving an 8-month time window (October through June). The design team faced the precise challenge of creating a structure perched on a reclaimed lake bed, requiring the careful examination of the water table and surrounding infrastructure. Built up against the seawall of Lake Michigan, the new structure had to be designed above the highest recorded lake level and due to the poor soil conditions, the design team needed to create the building’s foundation to sit on structural piles. The requirement that soils were not to be removed led to the decision to contour the seating bowl to build up and balance the site – utilizing the soils as a substrate for the architecture to increase design efficiency.
The pavilion is a metaphor for the surrounding water of Lake Michigan, translated into the gently undulating roof form to represent the blowing winds and a symbol of downtown Milwaukee’s integration with the lakeshore. The overall roof form represents the winds coming in off the lake, the sound waves that fill the stage and the eccentric energy surrounding each performance. The unique roof design comes as the result of extensive sound and sensory experience testing completed early on in the design process by developing a mock stage. The concave roof form restricts sound from traveling outside of the pavilion, driving the sound back into the ground for an elevated acoustical experience.
The pavilion rests under a clear-span polyhedral space frame structure utilizing only perimeter columns and broad cantilevers with no interior columns within the seating bowl to provide an unobstructed view of the stage from all angles and maximize coverage of the roof form. To allow for construction to be completed on an accelerated schedule, the design team implemented the componentization of the superstructure. To accommodate the pavilion’s complete structure and canopy on poor soil conditions, each column assembly has 8-9 piles driven down into the substructure, spread out in a cone shape to resist sustained uplift generated from 90+MPH lakefront winds.
The pavilion is organized into separate facets, each accommodating a component of service. The stage is strategically oriented on an east-west axis with the performer’s back to Lake Michigan. To enhance the presence of the water, the back of house functions were placed on the sides of the stage, allowing the patrons to look past the performer to a framed view of the lakefront, nearby lighthouse and horizon beyond.
Photos: C+N Photography
St. Francis, Wisconsin
Architect: Bray Architects
Owner: City of St. Francis
Contractor: Beyer Construction
The St. Francis Civic Center houses the Police Station, City Hall, Historical Society and Fire Station and is a hub of the community and center of civic service. The rotunda of the center houses permanent and rotating public displays of the city’s Historical Society, while providing a gathering space filled with natural light for public gatherings. The City’s Common Council Chambers also are located within the Administration area.
The center’s thoughtful design pays homage to the hard-working roots of the people of St. Francis while reflecting the city’s transitioning perspective of itself, marked by new relationships with large headquarters that have recently relocated there and the formation of major regional partnerships.
The 42,000 square foot, $9.75 million building replaced an undersized and antiquated existing civic center building which served the St. Francis community for over 60 years. The Police Department offers the latest in spaces for Administrative and Patrol, Detainee and Evidence Processing, Investigation and Major Case and a full Municipal Court. The Fire Department houses four pull-through Apparatus Bays, Training Room/Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Fitness Center, Staff and Intern Bunk Rooms
The building’s central public gathering space, the circular rotunda, is uniquely sited such that its central axis is the terminus of Lipton Avenue; which links the civic center to Greene Park – the community’s two civic amenities. The five acre site is located along Howard Ave, a critical circulation corridor within the community. The site also houses the trail-head for a newly developed public nature trail.
The site was a remnant of an abandoned power-plant, the remediation needs of which made it highly unattractive to developers, so the site remained of little value to the city’s tax roll. In addition, a very large utility line runs diagonally underground through the length of the site. Adherence to very strict soils guidelines to accommodate the sensitivity of the line included depth considerations and use of highly specialized fill along its length. Combined with existing wetlands, the site, overall, was an enormous challenge,
The design and construction team managed extensive remediation and worked closely with the DNR to utilize aggressive storm water management techniques. The site today is a beautiful and welcoming center of the community. Spring will welcome a beautifully landscaped area surrounding the building.
Photos: Saturn Lounge/Robert Ness
Architect: Groth Design Group, Inc.
Owner: Christ Presbyterian Church
Contractor: J.H. Findorff & Son Inc.
The existing church had served the congregation well for many years. Changing perspectives however, regarding worship experiences and the manner in which the congregation interacted with the community demanded changes in space use and in the presentation of the facility to the public. The Church Visioning Team determined the following priorities as a basis for renovation:
-Welcoming Entry and Gathering Space
-Provision for Traditional and Contemporary Worship Programs
-Spaces for Community Services
-Space for Children, Youth and Families
-Creation of Spaces for Spiritual Growth
-MEP Upgrades to Current Facilities
-Investment in Mission Partners
Given conditions and renovation priorities, the project would also need to include consideration for parking areas, site storm water management, lighting, and the inclusion of artwork.
Located on a finite urban site, there was little space for consideration of additions or major changes in the overall configuration of the facility. Any modifications to satisfy need and responsiveness to the creation of a more welcoming architectural presence had to be accomplished within the context of the general physical limits of the existing facility.
The design solution incorporated a much more open worship environment allowing for greater flexibility in the way in which functions in the worship space are organized. The same can be said for the other priority functions in that while there were existing physical limitations to change, available space was viewed not from the standpoint of limitations, but of possibilities.
Clearly the most striking element of design change is the primary entry plaza. Formerly little more thansidewalk and front door, this open outdoor space is now much more defined not simply as an entry, but as a proclamation of the mission and purpose of the church; moreover, the design of architectural elements defining the plaza integrate the seriousness of the faith expression, but in a way that is open, welcoming and playful.
The project includes 4,600 SF of new construction and 32,650 SF of renovated space.
This project proclaims all that is important to the congregation, but in a way that allows for those who are not members to consider the merit of the CPC community to their lives in a welcoming and non-threatening manner. The solution, particularly in the entry plaza, is the essence of an effective forum that respects and welcomes all. It is also important to emphasize that the renewed facility now offers far greater flexibility for changing program needs.
Photos: Mark Heffron
Architect: Eppstein Uhen Architects
Owner: Northwestern Mutual
Contractor: C.G. Schmidt, Inc.
The seven-story, 145,000-square-foot Van Buren office building is designed as a lab to test new furniture and new ways of working, with the goal of selecting the best options for the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons (to be completed in 2017). The building is not meant to be a quick fix to house employees, but is a permanent piece of Northwestern Mutual’s downtown campus.
Originally built in the 1920s, the structure posed many challenges including low floor-to-floor heights, tight column grids, cavernous floor plates, and inconsistencies from multiple prior renovations. The visioning process pushed Northwestern Mutual to think differently about how work is done, leading to a workspace solution longing for bright, open and interactive spaces. This new way of working further magnified the building’s challenges.
Intense planning and modeling became the method to create an elegant, restrained solution that subtly melds essential building infrastructure with interior elements. Leveraging meticulous BIM modeling, prefabricated mechanical runs became integral to the design language (in addition to saving time and money). Finishes create a sophisticated energy, amplified through the juxtaposition of clean white walls, warm white oak, metal mesh, glass and existing concrete.
The resulting space supports a dramatic departure from Northwestern Mutual’s traditional workspace environment, elegantly proclaiming their 21st century trajectory and market leadership.
Photos: Darris Lee Harris
Florida Hospital | Sanford-Burnham Institute
Architect: Flad Architects
Owner: Florida Hospital
Contractor: Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC
Built on a small urban site, the TRI is a landmark building for Florida Hospital and the signature building in their new Health and Research Village, a mixed-use development of research facilities, clinics, commercial buildings, and residential housing. The new research institute portrays a high-level image and identity along the primary street, yet creates a sense of privacy for clinical volunteers entering the building.
The framework for the exterior development, based on the planning module and a series of horizontal regulating lines provided a simple yet elegant expression. Visual interest relies on the massing of the building and the use of materials with color and texture to provide scale and character, all complimented by the use of required functional building elements such as the stairs and sun-screens as detailed accents. A limited pallet of sand colored terra-cotta, white precast wall panels, glass curtain wall, and trapezoid shaped metal panels of varying shades of blue, acting as a reflection of the Florida sky, make up the skin of the building.
The exterior of the building has a transformative nature as day turns into night. The terra-cotta and glass enclosed staircases that visually anchor both ends of the building act as lanterns at night in the urban landscape. The building’s main street façade, made up of stainless steel sunscreens, shifts from a solid form to a more transparent appearance at night revealing an illuminated curtain wall that visually hints at the research discoveries occurring within.
The building is organized in an ‘L’ configuration creating a landscaped arrival court in the middle of the site for volunteers to access the building in privacy. An outdoor room, complete with a garden and water feature, acts as the forecourt to the main entry which opens into a modest two-story lobby. In the center of the lobby, an ornamental staircase connects the first two floors and runs along a feature wall with a two-story interactive digital display focused on the mission and science within the facility.
The research institute was designed with sustainable measures and standards in mind for achieving LEED Gold certification. In addition to providing local materials, light colored roofing, and a reduced impact on the site, daylight and views played an important role in the interior development of the building, providing access to almost every habitable space. This required the adoption of stainless-steel sun shading devices that not only provide a practical application, but give the building a unique exterior aesthetic. An outdoor terrace at the second level was also provided for volunteers and staff and is bordered on either side by green vegetated roofs.
Photos: Jim Roof Creative
Arlington Heights, Illinois
Architect: Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction, Inc.
Owner: Lutheran Life Communities
Contractor: Walsh Construction Company
The $51.6 million repositioning of Lutheran Home began with the addition of MyRehab Center—an 81,000 sq. ft., rehabilitation center/transitional care center—to its skilled nursing facility, Olson Pavilion. Designed to provide first-class therapy and rehabilitation services, MyRehab Center is an excellent example of how healthcare environments are changing to be more contemporary and welcoming. With an abundance of windows, the 78-unit facility offers a significant amount of natural light throughout—specifically in the lobby and therapy gym. All 26 resident rooms per floor offer the comforts of home, while a few select suites include a spacious living area complete with chairs, wardrobe, and sleeper/sofa so family can easily stay overnight to give support. Common areas, such as the dining and living rooms, provide more accessible and warm home-like spaces. A state-of-the-art therapy gym—which includes a mock apartment for practicing independent tasks done at home—is a key feature of MyRehab Center.
A primary design goal for MyRehab Center was to continue the residential architectural features of the campus while complimenting the institutional character of the adjoining Olson Pavilion. This was accomplished by introducing a modern healthcare attribute to bridge the two design styles together. In addition, with MyRehab Center designed to appeal to short-term clients (many possibly younger in age) instead of the typical, older long-term resident, the project encompasses a more transitional and contemporary design.
Although connected to Olson Pavilion, MyRehab Center has its own parking area and upscale lobby that contains smaller, cozy meeting spaces for patients and visitors and offers a retreat-like hospitality entrance to the community with is stone and flooring materials. A gateway to Olson Pavilion, the lobby’s exterior and interior are blended through the use of an impressive curtain wall system. The facility includes a secondary entrance that provides a discreet and private access point for receiving admissions and other emergency and medical personnel.
Another significant design feature of the project was the ability to not only blend into the existing campus, but the surrounding neighborhood as well. The facilities on the Lutheran Home campus already contain a mix of residential to institutional design styles, which makes for a unique setting. Since MyRehab Center would be squarely located in a residential area, many residents expressed concern prior to the start of the project about the appearance of the finished facility and its ability to blend into the neighborhood. Others worried about the possibility of the facility having a negative effect on the value of their homes.
Much effort was spent examining the entire campus setting, from its facilities features to the surroundings neighborhood. Elements studied included setbacks, landscaping, material selections, and architectural style. A critical component of the design of MyRehab Center was specifying the use of residential windows and other non-institutional looking features, such as mansard asphalt, shingle roofs, dormers, downspouts, and brick. Upon completion of the design, resident concerns were put to rest.
Architect: Engberg Anderson Architects
Owner: HSI Properties
Contractor: Stevens Construction Corp.
When you put multiple functions in one location, you create a hybrid building where great things happen. HSI Properties and the City of Milwaukee brought a team of design and construction professionals together to complete The Standard @ East Library, a project that adds to the vibrancy and diversity of The East Side. This five-story mixed use, high-end multi-family development included a 17,000-square-foot grey box for the East Library, 3,000-square-feet of retail space, and 99-market rate apartments above two floors of underground parking.
The Standard at East Library is unique in that the “Mixed-use” Library building typology new to Milwaukee. Traditionally, Milwaukee Libraries are free standing buildings. However, as part of Milwaukee Public Library’s “Rethinking Libraries for the 21st Century” Plan, an initiative was set forth to reimagine service models for the Milwaukee Public Library System. The Standard architect led a team of sub-consultants and worked with one contractor for the housing portion of the building, while the library portion was designed by a different architecture firm and constructed by yet another construction firm. The project was treated as two projects in process at the same time. A grey box space was delivered to the library, while the remaining portions of the building were still under construction.
The residential component of the project redefines the standard for urban living on The East Side. This is an amenity-rich apartment experience focused on elevating the lifestyle of its residents. Some of the unit amenities include spacious layouts, high-end fixtures, balconies and programmable climate controls. The building amenities include a fitness center, rooftop deck, underground parking, retail and on-site management in a pet-friendly environment.
Photos: C&N Photography
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Architect: Bray Architects
Owner: School District of La Crosse
Contractor: Fowler & Hammer, Inc.
Northside Elementary School is an 87,000 sf, two-story PreK-5 elementary school in La Crosse, WI. The new building replaces two smaller schools and was designed to maximize efficiencies on a tight urban site.
The site was divided into three section: a public play area/field turf plaza located off the main public street to be used by the community all year long; the building itself which stretches across the middle portion of the site, with a main East-West corridor that links drop off entrances located on the two bordering side streets; and the central circulation spine which provides a connection through the building for access to the parking lot and the gym.
Two internal light courts provide natural daylight to all learning spaces and many corridors. Additionally, the courtyards allow for safe and secure outdoor spaces for outside education, expanded cafeteria seating, and a kindergarten playground.
Photos: Bill Kult and Jack Flieg
UW - Superior
Architect: Workshop Architects
Owner: State of Wisconsin, Division of State Facilities
Contractor: Howard Immel Inc.
As enrollment swelled in the 1960s, the University made plans to double the size of the UW-Superior student population. Over the years the condition of the Halls declined and they became the least desirable choice for campus housing. In 2012, the University decided to renovate Ross and Hawkes Halls.
The two Halls were typical of the 60’s dormitory. Double loaded corridors with no natural light, low floor-to-floor heights, shared toilet and shower rooms and minimal social space. Through a series of design sessions with UW-Superior administration, staff and students design priorities were established. Top priorities were personal toilet rooms, personal showers and more social areas. Within each building, the solution removed the common toilet rooms to open up the central core and bring natural light into new social lounges, creating spaces for community on each floor. Community kitchens and grouped private toilets with showers surround the new open areas. At the scale of the district, the two buildings were joined by a multi-story community space. A floating glulam roof caps glass walls to create a warm and welcoming two level “link” between the buildings. Interior and exterior ramps negotiate the site and existing main floor levels to improve accessibility, wayfinding and the entry experience. Interior platform seating, a fireplace and tiered seating provide a physical and visual connection between the upper lounge and lower level recreation and programming areas. By creating civic spaces at multiple scales, these dynamic interventions transformed two isolated 1960’s dormitories into two connected 21st century residence halls.
Photos: BLG Photo
Elm Grove, Wisconsin
Architect: Vetter Denk Architects
Contractor: Vetter Denk Properties, LLC
This innovative update on the production home for the modern era serves as a direct counterpoint to the neighborhood.
The Terraced House cautiously steps down the site’s steep topography. The compact house opens up in very focused views that capture the natural wooded setting, while masking the sounds and views of the directly adjacent roadway. The main living spaces face this major roadway, effectively flipping the typical orientation of a suburban home, and the main entrance pulls visitors up to the second floor and halfway through the site, providing a sense of procession and privacy absent in the typical suburban home.
Clad in a custom rain screen that reflects the wood of the surrounding landscape - while providing a glimpse into the interior tones that are used. The stepping “wood boxes” rest on a series of concrete walls that organize the site, retain the earth, and - in conjunction with the wood veneer panels - provide a subtle organic texture to the composition.
The interior spaces wrap around an interior knuckle that houses public zones and vertical circulation - allowing more private spaces to exist at the edges of the building. The windows get larger and more frequent as they ascend the building, culminating in the upstairs bedrooms that occupy the site like a tree house - giving views in all directions.
Photos: Steve Gotter
West Bend, Wisconsin
Architect: HGA Architects and Engineers
Owner: Museum of Wisconsin Art
Contractor: M.A. Mortenson
The new museum, located along the Milwaukee River across from West Bend’s historic downtown, houses the collection, preservation and exhibition of artworks by artists who have lived and worked in Wisconsin. The unique triangular building, clad in a variegated skin of fiber cement panels in different shades of white with glass apertures, not only fits precisely into its redevelopment site, but also fits the program needs of the museum by providing a range of different sized galleries. The acute north tip of the building is cut away to reveal a monumental stairway and create a dynamic glass wedge that forms an iconic element for the museum. In the southwest corner, a tall two-story opening provides an entrance into the atrium as well as views of downtown and down the length of the river. A curving stairway provides access to the galleries on the second floor. All the galleries have 16-foot tall ceilings, with tall freestanding wall planes to create a series of galleries and provide mechanical services for this space. The first floor contains space for educational programs, lectures, curatorial services and administrative support. The interior is designed with minimal white surfaces and doors, sidelights, railings and clerestories of transparent frameless glass.
Jury Comment: “This is a beautiful project that was well executed with a limited budget. The architect was really given a challenge – and the solution is very successful in the simplicity of the plan and the form as well as the selection of materials. The architect was smart to let the site talk and tell them what to do. It all works. The site is magical; and the community deserves a lot of credit for selecting it for the new museum. The materials and palette are refreshingly clean and a wonderful backdrop for the artwork. The project is diabolically simple.”
Photos: Darris Lee Harris Photography
Architect: Kahler Slater
Owner: Water Accelerator, LLC
Contractor: KBS & CD Smith
Originally built in 1904 as a box manufacturing facility, this historic landmark in the Walker’s Point neighborhood of Milwaukee has been carefully renovated into a contemporary seven-story office building with university lab space and business incubation suites. Designed to promote collaboration and attract new businesses addressing key local and global water-quality and policy issues, the redevelopment serves as a catalyst for the city’s Global Water Technology Business Park. On the exterior, concrete aggregate panels on the lower portion of the building were replaced with brick to match the rest of the façade and uplighting is used to highlight the building’s historic features. With heavy timber frame and historic details providing a rich backdrop, the original interior layout was modified by inserting a new core with stairs, elevators and facilities. On the elevated first floor, the lobby opens up into a central open gallery that doubles as a large gathering space and a public café encourages collaboration. The former loading dock has been transformed into an auditorium and shared conference room. Sustainable design features include a green roof that serves as a vegetated roofing research laboratory for UW-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences.
Jury Comment: “This adaptive reuse project was very successful in maintaining the integrity and power of a great old building. There are some great spaces inside. You can see how the flow of spaces and the open gallery on the first floor can activate the idea of collaboration and communication. The recladding of the exterior brick looks very good. A beat up and ugly building was brought back to life. This project had a nice coherent approach.”
Photos: Peter McCullough
Architect: Bill Yudchitz, AIA, and
Daniel Yudchitz, AIA
Contractor: Revelations Architects/Builders
Sited on a hillside overlooking Lake Superior, this project is an experiment in contemporary elemental shelter. Its geometric forms and functionality commune with the natural setting, showing deference in a small footprint, use ofutilitarian and economical construction materials, and ingenious versatility. The wood framed box – a sheltered container for living – is clad in black metal that floats above the landscape. When in use, two twelve-foot doors open to provide a protected porch entry and reveal a two-story glass wall. A shower screen supports a sand-filtered water cistern for the outdoor shower. The interior is organized into three vertical zones. The lower level is a multi-functional space that can be reconfigured for different uses. A series of built-in furniture elements include folding wooden chairs stored on wall hooks, a toilet and wash basin as well as a table and bed that fold out from the walls as needed. A ladder along the wall leads up to a sleeping loft with windows to the north and south. A second ladder allows access from the loft to a rooftop observation “nest.” Simple strategies, like lighting provided by solar lanterns, keep the building "off the grid." A dry-flush toilet and water jug eliminate the need for plumbing. The innovative shelter facilitates enjoying nature while respecting it.
Jury Comment: "When we talk about what architects have to offer the general public, it’s this incredibly resourceful and efficient use of space. The architects did a lot with a little. This project is about how much you can pack in to such a small footprint. The lightness of the footprint, from both a sustainability stand point and how it touches the ground, implies a temporary insertion. It’s a smart design. You open it up and everything inside is dual purpose. There is an appropriateness and consistency in the material and detail choices. We applaud the idea – especially some of the furnishings and multipurpose design."
Photos: Design Team and Dan Hoffman
Architect: Johnsen Schmaling Architects
Contractor: Yahara Builders, LLC
This private family residence occupies a small lot in Madison’s historic University Heights neighborhood. The home was designed as a respectful but unapologetically contemporary building and discreetly placed in the back of the trapezoidal site to avoid direct visual competition with its two dignified 19th century neighbors. The house is a simple volume composed of two building blocks – a two-story brick podium partially embedded in the site’s existing slope and a linear cedar-clad meander that wraps up and over the podium before transforming into a cantilever. The home’s garage, support rooms and open living hall are located in the brick base, while its bedrooms, baths and a small reading room are housed in the cedar volume. The main living hall, an open space for cooking, eating and sitting, features a series of floor-to-ceiling windows that offer framed views into the neighborhood. The exterior material palette is limited to brick and wood, two materials common to the surrounding historic homes that together add a subtle muted nod to the bold colors of the neighborhood’s Victorian homes.
Jury Comment: “As an extremely modern abstract house, there is something about the way the architect broke down the scale with the materials in the facade that helps it to so beautifully fit into the context of the neighborhood. The execution of this project is really precise. The architect paid a lot of attention to the details of the simple plan and massing. There are powerful moments where you are wrapped in the materials. For a modern single-family residence to fit into a historic neighborhood like this, there are a lot of different design moves like the use of materials, hiding the garage and the setback that all make it work really well."
Photos: John J. Macaulay
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Design Matters. Treehouses to Hospitals.