Architect: Dimension IV Madison Design Group
Owner: Hovde Properties
Contractor: C.G. Schmidt Inc.
This renovation revitalizes a 12‐story brutalist modern building to create desirable office and commercial space and an inviting public plaza on one of Madison’s premier entrances to the Capitol Square. Designed in 1970 for the telephone utility, the building was constructed as a fortress. Since that time, the utility downsized while technology and office environments changed, with the result that the building was nearly 80% empty when the new owner took possession. The overarching design goal was to dismantle the fortress aspect of the office tower and provide attractive lease space for commercial tenants to lure the public back. Renovations made to “lighten up” the building include: new entrances and lobbies clearly visible from the exterior, new windows added in the blank stone walls to provide new daylight, portions of the exterior façade removed and floors cut back to extend additional glass curtainwalls the full height of the occupied floors, dark tinted frames and glazing replaced with clear energy‐efficient vision glass, new plaza with patio seating for restaurant, an artist‐created mural at the entrance featuring multiple shades of blue glass, and barrier‐free improvements. The renovations also included creating a new corridor for pedestrian access from the adjacent public parking garage to the office tower elevator lobby. With the successful renovation, the building is now fully occupied.
Jury Comment: “The architect took a brutalist building and re‐invented it, giving it new life and making it look more vital and alive. The incisions in the exterior are well done – they transform the building while still maintaining its original character. Because many buildings of this era are approaching the end of their original life, it is important to recognize projects like this one that find ways to adaptively reuse them. By extending the building’s own language to the other tower, the architect makes if far more accessible for everyone.”
Photos: Ryan Hainey Photography