Architect: Mead & Hunt
Contractor: Joe Daniels Construction Co., Inc.
The Madison Water Utility Paterson Street Operations Center has been a part of the Marquette neighborhood in Madison, Wisconsin for more than 85 years and is part of the City’s major service to ensure the public has access to safe, clean water. The existing 1920's-era brick masonry building was undersized, inefficient and in poor condition. Maintaining large vehicle’s (dump trucks, backhoes, box trucks, etc.) was problematic due to being limited in height and space. The workshop space was inadequate; administrative functions were split apart; and having multiple levels in the building created additional stress and fatigue on their employees. The deficient space caused operational inefficiencies, deployment challenges and created work safety hazards. Safety, urban renewal and sustainability were key goals for the renovation of the Madison Water Utility Paterson Operations Center project.
The design solution offered a functional and aesthetic integration of the industrial activities of the Water Utility into an evolving, eclectic neighborhood, with inspiration drawn from the surrounding context: mixing industrial turn of the century brick buildings with modern metal panels and glazing. The program spaces are broken into smaller volumes and are tied together through the use of banding materials of concrete panels, metal panels, glazing and bookended with brick volumes. Large, repetitive punched openings create visual interest from the street and provide daylighting to the interior. Brick pilasters and a protruding canopy enhance the main entry to draw-in visitors as a public building.
The details of the building were designed to engage and enhance the neighborhood experience. The large windows allow pedestrians to view work in the office and workshop areas, creating a connection of people and activity. The street-facing, grand stairway showcases the Water Utility’s history and work through artifacts and water-main components adorning the existing, exterior masonry feature wall that penetrates the interior of the building. Water Utility artifacts were also incorporated into low curving landscape walls to break down the scale of the site at the sidewalk.
Several enhanced, sustainable measures were provided in this project, such as high-efficiency mechanical and plumbing systems, LED lighting, natural daylighting, and high-reflectance white roof. An extensive storm water management system was provided to reduce water overload in the area, through the use of a unique tank system under the parking lot. A vegetated roof also reduces storm water and provides a nicer amenity to the towering apartment complexes nearby. Finally, all-season hydration stations are provided for local pedestrians; bike racks are provided for neighborhood use; and additional landscaping and plantings soften the urban site.
This facility is a model for urban renewal and how industrial working environments can enhance a neighborhood. Its openness and vibrancy has provided a new relationship with the area, as a good-steward of the neighborhood, environment, and public service. The efforts toward sustainability, longevity, and durability for this masonry facility, contribute to a greener community while continuing the City of Madison and the Water Utility’s endeavor to be fiscally responsible.
Photos: John J. Korom Photography