Architect: Johnson Design, Inc.
Owner: Hendricks Commercial Properties
Contractor: Corporate Contractors, Inc.
The concept of this interior and limited exterior remodel was to create a juxtaposition between a modern interior infill in a 19th century industrial building. This project is an incubator environment for start up businesses. The goal of the client was to create a space that is a collaborative and dynamic co-working space for small businesses and entrepreneurs. It offers a variety of memberships, ranging from dedicated desks to private office space with an exciting environment that is sure to inspire creativity and collaboration. It also can be utilized for workshops, client presentations or employee training. Open desks, event space, office space and conference rooms are available.
The response to the clients program was to keep the space open and clean, allowing the older structure to be expressed. The new interior offices and conference spaces do not compete with the complexity of the existing elements. The infill is meant to be simple, lacking hierarchy of place.
The space has been designed to be flexible, so an occupant can have both privacy and be able to interact with others. The large open interior acts as a “street,” apart from the row of infill, which speaks to the breakdown of levels of public and private zones, much like the street in a city or neighborhood. The simple lines of the infill allow and add strength the local graffiti artist wall, focusing visual emphasis on the art, and community aspect of the space.
The new space respects and brings life back to a building important to the history in the city it is located in. The architecture of the infill becomes subservient to the notion of the importance of interaction within the community of the public space. Through the creation of a clean, modern feeling infill element, the emphasis of the design allows the start up business the economic advantage of a small leasable office footprint, while having the advantage of a larger, more collaborative community space for the sharing of ideas and interaction with others.
Photos: Jim Spelman
Architect: Plunkett Raysich Architects, LLP
Owner: Bemis Company, Inc.
Contractor: CR Meyer & Sons Co.
Bemis Corporation, a worldwide leader in flexible packaging, required the transformation a non-descript 1980’s canning facility into a world class research and development center. The 125,000 square-foot program included extensive research labs, R & D office space, a machine show room and client experience spaces.
The project was limited to an interior remodel exterior work limited to introducing new point supported glass at the entry to allow views into the facility and a new signage element to refresh the existing entrance. The interior remodel occurred in 11 carefully orchestrated phases to keep the facility operational during construction, which took a total of 23 months.
The existing building entry was redesigned with clear, point-supported glass to create a high tech image and show activity inside the building. In addition, a curved surround and reclad columns incorporates new signage. A key function of the Innovation Center is to function as a sales tool to perspective customers. To accomplish this, a formal visitor experience with a series of designed tour stops helped shape the plan beginning at the new two-story lobby. The focal point of this space is a flexible orientation room which opens to the lobby for visitor interface with a touch screen wall or it can be closed for a private presentation. Throughout the design, a clean, high tech aesthetic with glass, stainless steel and branding colors creates a branded visitor experience. The former canning space was transformed into a packaging machine showroom. In this space, new clerestory windows flood the space with natural light. Surrounding the showroom are new research labs with glass fronts and graphics, which become visual stops on the visitor tour route. The showroom functions to display a variety of packaging equipment serviced by overhead power gas and vacuum. The showroom and labs allow visitors to experience Bemis’ design and research capabilities. Additional tour stops include a cooking lab to test product, environmental chambers and an analytical lab. Visiting clients are also provided a client suite available for long days at the facility with a living room, kitchen and luggage room to create a first-class visitor experience and a break space.
The new open office plan features a greatly reduced number of enclosed offices and an increased number of small meeting rooms for acoustical privacy when necessary. The typical workstation was reduced to 6’ x 9’ with shared work islands and sit-stand desks. The new open plan fosters teamwork and collaboration. A new atrium and skylight links the two R & D floors to foster communication and forms a “Town Square” for all company meetings as well. Two “work cafes” are strategically located in the building to be convenient meeting spaces for not only eating but also an alternative work environment with writeable walls and access to technology.
Careful planning was required to keep the facility operational, which resulted in a project with 11 Phases of construction within a 23-month schedule.
Extensive coordination between Bemis staff, the architect, consultants and contractors was needed to orchestrate the multiple moves of Bemis employees to accomplish this project.
Photos: Tricia Shay
Stevens Point, Wisconsin
Architect: Performa, Inc.
Owner: Skyward, Inc.
Contractor: Miron Construction Co., Inc.
Skyward is an international software developer for school systems and was faced with the challenge of rapid growth. Created at the family kitchen table in the early 80’s, Skyward has grown to the point where they needed more than just a facility that houses employees. The company needed a way to recruit and retain young software programmers to central Wisconsin and believed a new headquarters would be a catalyst to this need. The building needed to be a tool to facilitate highly collaborative and team-based software development. The existing facility lacked progressive amenities and was a menagerie of buildings and additions that couldn’t be efficiently renovated. The new design incorporates natural light, ergonomic furnishings, access to on site health care, fitness, dry cleaning, concierge service, and food service that gives employees the opportunity to bring home evening meals. These amenities allow their employees to concentrate on work and not the little things in life that slows them down.
Performa helped Skyward determine their current and future facility needs and designed a solution that brought together the entire company under one roof. This consolidation allowed for increased production by creating better functional adjacencies, greater employee collaboration, and an open, clean, well lit, high performance work environment.
The new 181,700 square foot world headquarters is located in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and sits on a 40 acre site adjacent to Highway 39. The facility houses nearly 1,000 employees on 4 floors with subsurface parking for 20 vehicles.
The interior of the facility is very open and transparent. The common core, considered the heart of the building, has three “wings” that converge into a central area that has collaboration spaces, conference rooms, food service and restrooms that encourage impromptu or informal chance encounters. Other break out areas allow employees to step away from the intense and highly-focused task of writing code at a computer all day. The wings are designed to enhance a “scrum team” operating model. This model requires maximum flexibility and the ability to adapt to rapid team formations.
Photos: Jackson & Co.
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.
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
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: Cuningham Group Architecture, Inc.
Owner: MIG Commercial Real Estate
Contractor: Ideal Builders, Inc.
The owner’s program for Parmenter Center called for 40,000 square feet of commercial office space near the entrance of a newly developing district known as Parmenter District. The owner saw importance in respecting the history and materials of the industrial district, and wished to create a new focal point that would set the precedent of high-quality design for all future district redevelopment.
The re-routing of the Beltline Highway several years ago inspired redevelopment and improvements of The City of Middleton’s Parmenter Street. This redevelopment opened a new Parmenter District. Redevelopment also prompted the City to create a future master plan calling for development of “sustainable, vibrant neighborhood with mix of living, working, shopping oriented land uses,” Parmenter Center brings commercial office space to the district within three levels.
Parmenter Center is located adjacent to the Pheasant Branch Creek conservancy. The developers worked with the City of Middleton to provide public parking spaces that allow the community to take advantage of the neighboring conservatory nature trails and amenities. The Parmenter Center design promotes a healthy, active lifestyle by taking advantage of advantage of outdoor views, specifically from the buildings two stair towers. Additionally, bike racks and showers encourage use of the nature trail and bicycle commuting to the workplace. On the interior, warm tones were used in the materials to express the connection and embrace the views to the conservancy.
The project team delivered a project that accomplished the owner’s vision of setting high-design standards while meeting budget constraints.
The design team worked to provide budget conscious solutions that met the challenge on every level. Through a series of renderings and mock ups, the design team collaborated with the owner to maximize the look and function of the exterior materials chosen for the project.
Nichiha fiber cement was selected as the primary exterior cladding system. The system was specifically designed with a play on scale, while the color served as a nod to the adjacent building’s historic brick palette. This material was balanced with corrugated metal and natural cedar accents.
To take advantage of the surrounding views, glazing on the upper floor of the curtain wall was requested to be integrated into the design. The design team educated the owner on the benefits of sun shading elements that resulted in the incorporation of vertical and horizontal fins into the exterior design.
Photos: C&N Photography
Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania
Architect: Architectural Design Consultants Inc.
Owner: Kalahari Resorts, LLC
Contractor: Kraemer Brothers, LLC
Phase one of this African-themed hospitality resort includes 457 guest rooms, 120,000 square foot convention center, 110,000 square foot indoor water park, 30,000 square foot arcade/family entertainment center, three signature restaurants, luxury spa and retail, and totals just under 790,000 square feet.
The 150-acre site of rolling terrain and sits on a hard layer of stepped bedrock. Surface water sheds into a neighboring creek and on-site water retainage was necessary and embraced by the design.
The exterior façade embraces visitors with an African Safari Water Park Resort feel and a stepping facade. The elevated porte cochere with hut structure and branch support brackets overlooks a beautiful pond with rock outcroppings and cascading waterfalls. The hotel and convention centers are materialized into works of art through an array of colors and African-themed patterns and murals. Exterior lighting assists with the evening experience with the use of intense, high-efficiency LED lighting that casts light down the entire eight story high-rise.
The architect designed different themed guest experiences at each of seven restaurants, three retail shopping centers plus candy shop, coffee shop, full-service spa and swim up bars both indoors and outdoors. Design elements for wet environments and wet swimsuits throughout the resort include heavy-duty, leather-look vinyl at all guest seating, high impact wall coverings at all public areas and within guest units, scrubbable paints throughout, corner guards, specialty grouts, diagonal ceiling tiles in long corridors, log chair rails while maintaining a sense of Africa.
The functionality of the interior spaces was key as over 80% of guests never leave the resort during their stay. A village unto itself, the resort provides guests with a transforming vacation experience. When traversing the resort, wayfinding is critical. Icons such as a giant metal acacia tree, life-size elephant, and a bronze gorilla appear everywhere while genuine African art weaves authenticity into the fantasy.
Back-of-house operations are efficiently and effectively integrated through well-conceived design, attention to the smallest detail, thorough understanding of project needs and goals, and a desire to set a new standard for indoor waterpark resorts.
Photos: Paul S. Bartholomew 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: 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
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
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: Potter Lawson, Inc.
Owner: Krupp General Contractors
General Contractor: Krupp General Contractors
This is a multi-tenant speculative office building designed to provide competitive market rates along with efficient and flexible office space with a sustainable focus. The project obtained LEED Platinum certification and has attracted 3 tenants that pursued interior LEED certification at the silver and platinum levels. The first floor allows for a potential change to retail space for a deli or café space once the site is fully developed. The architect was responsible for the design of the master plan, the office building and the interior build-outs.
The building sits at the intersection of two main roads, and anchors a master plan with a complimentary mix of uses. The master plan provides new urban infill development on a prime city site that was long underutilized. Derelict buildings and single level metal warehouses were deconstructed to make way for 3 and 4 story structures that increase density while respecting the scale of the adjacent single family neighborhood. The buildings are closely spaced to create defined public street spaces with pedestrian friendly connections.
749 University Row is accessed from the more pedestrian friendly internal roadway. The main entrance aligns with the shared parking garage/apartment building access across the street. A public terrace is located to the east of the main entrance and provides an outdoor space for tenants and residents alike. This space will become further defined by the future adjacent building.
The exterior of the building responds to its location and the owner’s desire to have a building that references desirable loft warehouse building types that include exposed structure, high ceilings, tall windows and a richly colored brick frame exterior accented by terra cotta and gray flat seam metal panels.
The building corner marks the busy intersection with a tall recessed glass volume. University Avenue is a busy road with fast moving traffic and the long façade on this street is broken up with a randomized pattern of solid vertical elements while maintaining a strict four foot planning module. The south façade faces the more pedestrian friendly internal street and a future shared plaza space. Cantilevered over the first floor retail space is a terra cotta plane that creates a south facing terrace for the third floor tenants. While providing depth to the building façade, this element angles out to define the future plaza and reduce the building height at this outdoor public space. An exit stair tower is located at the main entrance and provides a solid vertical mass to offset the rhythm of office windows. Fire rated stair doors are held open at the first floor to encourage occupants to take the stairs instead of the elevators. The interior of the building allows for an industrial aesthetic with tall exposed acoustical steel deck ceilings at 14 feet while abundant daylight penetrates deeply into each space through the tall windows that extend to 11 feet providing a unique interior office environment for potential tenants.
The developer was open to suggestions from the architect to create a unique architectural statement from a building type that can potentially be anonymous due to speculative rental market constraints. The master planned development, building and interior spaces highlights the value of good architectural design in creating not only buildings but engaging places for people. The building was 100% leased within a year further proof that good design is good for business.
Photos: Nels Akerlund Photography
Architect: Kahler Slater
Contractor: C.G. Schmidt
833 East is a contemporary addition to Milwaukee’s skyline and opened in February of 2016. It has over 358,000 SF of Class A leasable space in 18 stories. It is a multi-tenant office tower that rises from a podium with indoor parking and exclusive tenant amenities. The building was the first new multi-tenant office tower built in downtown Milwaukee in over a decade. It is positioned a block from the lakefront and connected to the US Bank Center tower and podium. The approximately one-acre site was hemmed in between existing buildings on three sides and only afforded one street frontage.
The overall approach of the project was a classic tower and podium scheme. The tower massing rises from the podium and is conceptualized as two interlocking rectangular solids. The taller thinner one is oriented towards the lake and has a strong vertical expression in its mullions. The lower mass is horizontal in its cladding strategy. This massing yields large floor plates which are optimized for today’s workplace efficiency needs and feature six corners – four of which are column free and face Lake Michigan. The tower is clad in a high-performance clear glass with a reflective coating which contributes to its impressive energy performance. A private rooftop terrace for the anchor tenant was also incorporated into the design.
The cladding of the podium expresses the structural frame with flush metal panels and large expanses of glazing; reminiscent of the adjoining much larger podium and tower to which it connects. The adjacent US Bank Center has an elevated Galleria level with numerous amenities and the new tower continues this pattern with its primary lobby on the 4th floor. Connectivity to the street lobby was a driving design feature, so a 4-story tall lobby atrium was carved into the building. The atrium exterior was sheathed in transparent glazing held up by an innovative laterally braced point supported glass wall.
This lobby was positioned to take advantage of a street that terminates at the edge of the building. To reinforce the connectivity between the multiple levels, a unique tensegrity light sculpture was commissioned to act as a focal point on the axis. The contemporary lobby design featuring clean lines and refined palette, conveys a feeling of sophistication necessary to attract top tier tenants. A stone-clad shuttle elevator mass, expressed uniformly on the outside and inside, doubles as canvas for requisite tenant signage and as a wayfinding element.
Building amenities include over 400 indoor parking stalls, a large shared multi-media conference room, fitness center and a high-end steak house in the street level retail space. The building has achieved a LEED Silver certification and has attracted some of the highest-profile tenants in downtown Milwaukee.
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: 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
Lake Delton, Wisconsin
Architect: Architectural Design Consultants, Inc.
Owner: Elvis & Miza Investments, LLC
Contractor: Friede & Associates, LLC
When the Client purchased the property, they had a vision to create an entirely new image and dining experience and lose the ties to the past business operations that occupied the space. Because the existing structure was to remain in place, the design had to create a new entity based solely around the existing structure, both exterior and interior.
Situated “on the main strip” of Wisconsin Dells, the site is highly visible to more than a million visitors each year. While location of the existing structure was set, adding a new outdoor dining experience would expand the interior offerings. Within the limited and confined site constraints, outdoor dining patios were incorporated in a configuration that utilized the available space with high visibility, while providing outdoor diners a sense of privacy through use of an interacting overhead trellis, screening and landscaping. Relocating the entrance created a new line-of-sight for guests approaching the restaurant.
Working from the Client’s vision, the architect formulated an exterior façade to fit with a sophisticated family dining experience. Natural wood, stone and EIFS blends in a rhythm to provide the statement. Differing roof types, accenting the positive while quietly screening existing negatives, aided the design effort. While wall configurations did not change from the existing structure, the new facility emerged with its own identity under the use of the new materials. Further, the concept of natural materials carries from the exterior to the interior, proving a bar and dining experience of family, comfort, sophistication and togetherness.
The B-Lux Grill and Bar renovation design is a firsthand example of how appropriate design can lead to a new facility without the need to raze an existing structure.
Photos: JakeRost Photography
Architect: Rinka Chung Architecture Inc.
Owner: Lowlands Group
Contractor: Venture Construction Group and 360 Degrees LLC
The growing Café Hollander brand finds its latest home in Mequon with a stunning new two story building that marks the prominent corner of the Mequon Town Center development. The project has reached a new architectural benchmark in the European-inspired neighborhood cafe model. The restaurant boasts a two-story back-bar, a unique outdoor covered bike storage feature, an outdoor Petanque court, and operable doors and windows on nearly every wall that expand out to abundant patios. The various outdoor courtyards total to over 3,700 square feet and provide a variety of different experiences. The main level contains the bar and dining areas for over 140 guests with an additional 220 outdoor dining seats on the courtyards. The service spaces are positioned on the west side of the building, the least prominent side, in an attempt to maximize street activation by keeping the main activities on the east street corner. The second floor contains indoor/outdoor seating for another 150 dining guests and a large open to below space to bring additional natural light into the core of the building.
The restaurant is located on a prominent high activity corner site previously occupied by a gas station. The restaurant is part of a larger project known as Mequon Town Center and is the anchor tenant for the development. The design and configuration of the building on the site allows for incredible outdoor dining experiences while at the same time shielding the occupants from the busy vehicular traffic on Mequon Road. The site is located within one block of the Ozaukee Interurban Bike Trail that extends all the way from southeastern Wisconsin. In response to the desire to increase bike usage in this otherwise suburban area the restaurant boasts a unique bike “corral” situated in a prominent outdoor area directly adjacent to the main entrance. With virtually no zoning constraints (zero setbacks) the site allowed for an urban architectural typology of vibrant activity and visual openness.
The design of this uniquely branded restaurant aims to provide an urban feel and experience to a suburban site while activating the street corner. The major presence of the building generates architectural interest for the passerby. The true design solution is looking at the negative space in the center of the building as the center point where all activity occurs. The architecture is wrapped around this negative volume which acts as the linking element of the building. The physical elements of the architecture and the negative space intertwine to create a special relationship of solid and void. The desired outcome of the design uses the negative space to carve away the architecture and reveal the true spaces for the user. The use of highly customized operable glass walls and garage doors brings ample natural light into all the dining areas. The interior design of the space consists of reclaimed wood, exposed steel structure, vintage signs and wall graphics to create a strong brand identity that recall the feel and atmosphere of the original Milwaukee location while making a gesture to the future of the Café Hollander experience.
The project brings an urban experience to a suburban neighborhood where you would typically find car oriented development. The design nods towards the future of human interaction and accessibility by supporting cycling and outdoor dining experiences. The building responded to a variety of unique site opportunities to create a restaurant that blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor. The design of the negative space as the focal point that ties the architecture together shapes the user’s experience. This Hollander location is the second standalone building by the Lowlands restaurant group. The design of this building exemplifies an evolution of the architecture in a progressive and fresh way.
Photos: Richard Ebbers
De Pere, Wisconsin
Owner: Commercial Horizons Inc.
Contractor: Miron Construction Co., Inc.
The 42,500 square foot facility features a two story lobby bathed in north light that celebrates the Festival Foods’ story. Local materials and daylight are key elements to the success of the exterior design which incorporates a modern form paralleling a pond and walkway throughout the local conservancy. The interior and exterior of De Pere limestone was quarried less than two miles away from the site.
The space accommodates 107 workstations and 46 private offices with multiple collaboration spaces, huddle rooms and coffee areas woven throughout the open office environment. Most offices are at the core of the building allowing the workstations to have access to natural light and views of the landscape.
The plan includes public access for cooking demonstrations, wine and cheese pairings, commercial film, and other social events. Specialty spaces in this area include the training room, test kitchen, prep kitchen and café which allow flow into one another and have access to a large patio bathed in south skies.
Environmental graphics and artwork play a key role in telling the Festival Foods story. Every conference room showcases a photograph of the construction process of this facility. Public spaces highlight the history of the brand on canvases and full wall graphics. “Behind the scenes” processes at the Festival Foods grocery store provide abstract canvas artwork placed throughout the building.
Photos: Image Studios, Inc.
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
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
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
Architect: Kahler Slater
Owner: First Hospitality Group
Contractor: Stevens Construction
Built in the heart of downtown Milwaukee in 1886 and listed on the National Historic Register of Historic Places, this landmark office building has been restored and transformed into a 127-room hotel. The Richardsonian Romanesque structure, with its solid granite and limestone exterior and soaring atrium, is one the best remaining examples of this building type in the Midwest. The project respects and recaptures the original design features while rejuvenating the building to meet the needs of modern hotel guests. On the exterior, paint and black soot were carefully removed from the stone façade. Most of the ground and first floor is dedicated to public spaces, including a restaurant, lounge areas and meeting space. The upper floors feature unique guest rooms, with 14-foot ceilings and large windows, positioned around the atrium. The historic details were preserved and restored throughout the building, including the original multi-colored floor tiles, bank vault doors, wood paneling and trim, ornamental plaster ceilings, marble and bronze staircases, windows, and the breathtaking atrium. With great collaboration, the Liberty Building has been beautifully restored, both inside and out, and repurposed for an active future.
Jury Comment: “You can’t help but love this old building. Looking at the before and after images, this restoration involved great care, collaboration and thoughtfulness. The atrium is really beautiful. This is a technical exercise, requiring significant research and problem-solving skills. The architect heightened the history of a place through the restoration. It demonstrates that a building like this can be put to very efficient use and that this kind of restoration project offers a sustainable business model.”
Photos: People Places & Things Photographics, Kevin Beswick
West Allis, Wisconsin
Architect: Eppstein Uhen Architects, Inc.
Contractor: Hunzinger Construction Co.
Owner: Johnson Controls, Inc. Global WorkPlace Solutions
This new office space lies within a repurposed circa 1940 manufacturing plant originally owned by Allis Chalmers. Located in West Allis, it underwent a creative transformation to house a special projects community of employees and consultants whose assignments require highly collaborative and flexible workspace that encourages knowledge sharing and interaction. The design solution incorporated a unifying element – a central gathering area – consisting of a two-story volume that can accommodate the entire staff for meetings and social events. It features a large video wall for presentations and messaging, framed with steel beams salvaged during demolition and clad in reclaimed barn wood. The space creates an airy and light environment of focus rooms, huddle and lounge spaces, team rooms and recharge areas to promote socializing or provide another workspace venue. There are no single private offices. Instead, work stations are designed to allow teaming opportunities and are positioned with access to natural light and views.
Jury Comment: "The corporate interior is eye catching with really nice space that is well laid out. There is a thoughtful balance of the existing and new elements that complement each other well. The amount of daylight that floods into the spaces stands out and is based on good planning. While there is a lot happening, it works nicely together in an airy cohesive headquarters facility."
Photos: C&N Photography
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: 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
Architect: OPN Architects
Owners: Urban Land Interests & Rule No. 1 Hospitality Group
Contractor: Ideal Builders
This commercial project transforms a 1900s-era bank building into a new restaurant that helps enliven an already vibrant entertainment district around the Capitol Square in Madison. Multiple renovations over the course of a century altered or covered many characteristics that were originally a hallmark of the historic brick building. Inspired by the opportunity to reclaim and restore, the design of the new bar and pizzeria celebrates the building’s industrial structural qualities by capitalizing on found materials and missed opportunities within the original architecture. New glass doors create a connection to the State Capitol. Immediately through the front door, a large bar on axis with the building’s exterior apex draws patrons into the space while showcasing an open kitchen and large pizza oven. Natural light pours in through 20-foot-tall windows opened up out of original slit windows. The first-floor windows fold fully open, further linking the restaurant to its surroundings. The renovation capitalized on an existing opening between the first and second floors by redirecting a stairway and adding a bridge to connect all three sides and create a triangle opening around a 27-foot floor-to-floor volume. In the lower level, a former bank vault has become a popular lounge with a banquette bench wrapping around three sides. The adaptive reuse and restoration of an iconic historic downtown building combines reclaimed materials and pops of modern elements to create a space to relax and connect.
Jury Comment: “The transformation of the interior is really quite impressive. It’s a serious renovation that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not afraid to have fun, yet it never stops being smart. There is a level of sophistication to how the architect did it. One great thing about flatirons is they insert themselves into the public space with their triangular form – and the architect for this project did something absolutely marvelous by opening up the restaurant to its surroundings.”
Photos: Mike Rebholz & Zac Dettinger
Architect: Eppstein Uhen Architects, Inc.
Owner: Menasha Coorporation
Contractor: Miron Construction Company, Inc.
To maintain ideal visibility and operational efficiencies, Menasha Corporation elected to locate their new headquarters in the same location as their existing 1962 headquarters – remaining connected to an existing corrugated cardboard plant.
The new two-story 103,000 square foot Menasha Corporation headquarters in Neenah was designed to support over 300 staff, adapting with the company as it grows and expressing this progressive company’s passion for lean processes, sustainability, and innovative solutions.
At over 160 years old, Menasha Corporation is among the World's largest independent, retail-focused packaging and merchandising solutions provider. Menasha Corporation's two business units, Menasha Packaging and Orbis Corporation, provide sustainable packaging, packaging design, pack-out and product fulfillment to companies across the globe.
The building's architectural solution overtly expresses Menasha's spirit of innovation, commitment to sustainability, and dedication to their employees and community. Hints and references to packaging from masonry reminiscent of stacked corrugated cardboard sheaves, to nestled pristine meeting spaces presented in crisp white folded volumes are present throughout the space. Purposefully expressive, expansive windows and clerestory light harness solar control strategies to maximize interior comfort and employee enjoyment throughout the day. This daylighting strategy helped the building achieve LEED® Gold Certification, along with environmentally responsible and sustainable material selections and strategic building systems.
The building design is composed of crisp aluminum and glass embraced in masonry. Salvaged from the original building, Douglas fir glulam beams were repurposed as floor opening ring beams. Cedar decking was reused as roof cladding to add warmth and accentuate the rolled steel beams. Floor openings enable daylight penetration and heighten opportunities for interaction.
The facility is infused with a variety of elements and graphic treatments that embody the Menasha brand and their strong legacy of innovation. During the entire design process, the team discussed progressive design ideas to create a functional and open office work environment that prominently displays the Menasha brand, resulting in an office space that not only meets the functional needs, but also supports a variety of work styles and fosters socialization between employees. With a focus on the employee experience, a Cafeteria and Outdoor Patio were incorporated into the building’s design with the locations based on functionality and ease of access for employees. Unique to an office building, this headquarters incorporates a Design Center and their Retail Integration Institute.
Environmental branding elements were incorporated throughout; circulation zones are demarcated by Menasha artifacts, and wall and window graphics speak to the organization’s ongoing commitment to charitable giving and community involvement. To further demonstrate their commitment to the area, common spaces were strategically located to allow for after-hour use by the local community.
This new building stands out in the Neenah marketplace, enhancing the visibility of the Menasha brand and creating an operationally sound work environment that promotes employee interaction and improves employee well-being.
The building is an overt expression of Menasha Corporation’s progressive heritage of lean processes, sustainability and innovative solutions.
Photos: C&N Photography
Architect: Rinka Chung Architecture Inc.
Contractor: Riley Construction Company, Inc.
Owner: Blue Ribbon Management LLC
This new five-story building is located in “The Brewery” district of Milwaukee on a site that once was home to the carriage and horse stables. A modern design, the building evokes an industrial quality reminiscent of its historic surroundings. It features a two-story parking structure and three floors of office space. The entry lobby, with double-height ceilings, opens to breakout business spaces and a private conference room. Referencing the nearby cream city buildings and iconic grain silos to the north, the project responds to its historic surroundings with simplicity and restraint while making a modern architectural statement for the future. The building incorporates modern materials in glass and metal panels, using masonry of dark brick cladding and warm wood tones. With floor-to-ceiling glass on its prominent corner, the project acts as a welcoming beacon for the revitalized district. Since its completion, the building project has helped to spur a renewed interest and sense of progress in downtown Milwaukee.
Jury Comment: "This project is recognized for its interiors and, in particular, the materiality within the interiors. With impressive restraint, the design not only emphasizes the materiality and quality of the space, but also the connectivity to the city beyond. The simple use of wood for both the ceiling and walls offers a really nice sensibility. It’s a good example of restraint in assembly and detailing, which creates an overall effect of the space that works with the volume, works with the daylight, and works with the views. It provides a nice balance."
Photos: Rinka Chung Architecture
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: 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: HGA Architects and Engineers
Owner: 88Nine RadioMilwaukee
Contractor: Catalyst Construction
This renovation of a vacant brick and steel industrial building in the Walker’s Point neighborhood of Milwaukee creates a new home for a nonprofit “listener supported” radio station, expanding its ability to engage the community through stories and music. The project includes flexible performance spaces and state-of-the-art broadcast and production studios as well as supporting elements that allow for active community involvement, enhanced programming and a collaborative work environment that reflects the culture of the station. The central feature of the building is the Performance Space that accommodates over 100 people for live performances and events. The adjacent community room for station events connects to a coffee shop through large glass garage doors and features large windows that extend the experience to a sidewalk patio. On the second floor, offices and open workstations bracket a central space with teaming areas to enable collaboration. A green roof and rain barrels provide stormwater management while a steel patina wall creates a visual and acoustic backdrop for a rooftop music stage. The project included the extensive use of salvaged, repurposed and recycled materials.
Jury Comment: “There is an informality and vibe and participatory quality to the performance space that appears to buzz with excitement. You can really see this being a lively hub of activity. The layering of spaces, use of color and reuse of materials – especially from the dairy barn – all add interest. The progressive attitude of the radio station now has an architectural expression to it – and that’s very cool.”
Photos: Darris Lee Harris Photography