Architect: Zimmerman Architectural Studios
Owner: Madison Area Technical College
Contractor: J.H. Findorff & Son, Inc.
The Madison College Health Education building consolidates and modernizes facilities for the technical college’s many programs in health-related professions. By using an efficient and cost-effective plan, the architects added a variety of break-out spaces in which students can work and meet outside of scheduled classes. Daylight and views are generously provided. The building’s dignified and richly textured exterior rhythmically interweaves rugged local stone with lighter glass and metal elements. Sustainable strategies include a vegetated roof, a geothermal system, and the diversion of roof water to a landscape utilizing native vegetation.
The free-standing Health Education building expands the campus west across Wright Street. It anchors the key vehicular approaches, and faces south to natural areas, east to the main building, and north to a quadrangle and planned future buildings.
It includes hands-on laboratories, active learning classrooms, computer labs, a “virtual hospital,” clinics and break out spaces.
At the macro scale, a three-story metal and glass volume appears to slide through or behind the stone-clad program blocks. Within those stone blocks, window bands and limestone-trimmed brick panels slide through deep stone columns. Alternating rhythms created by paired columns and varied but related mullion spacing and stone coursing also add subtle richness to the façade.
The building’s environmentally friendly strategies include the inconspicuous—a geothermal system, high-performing glass and very well-insulated roofs and walls—and the more visible: a transit stop, regionally sourced stone; solar shading; a green roof; extensive provision of controlled daylight and view; and, “lambs-tongue” outlets that direct rainwater from the roof to bands of native vegetation.
The overall massing strategy is key, standard construction techniques maximize effect. Smaller stone units used with conventional masonry cavity wall construction provide high performance and greater depth and detail than a flat, large-panel rain screen system on a secondary support system.
The building’s robust and richly textured exterior responds to and enhances its context in an environmentally friendly manner.
Photos: Loren Zemlicka Photography