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