Architects: Pickard Chilton and Kendall/Heaton Associates
Owner: Northwestern Mutual
Contractors: Gilbane Building Company and CG Schmidt Inc.
The 32-story office tower and three-story commons unite five office buildings to create an urban corporate campus in downtown Milwaukee that engages employees and the city. The glass tower’s curved form at the eastern edge of campus embraces the new gardens and terraces. With a large deck offering views of the city and Lake Michigan, the double-height mult-purpose space on the top floor serves as a special gathering space for employees and charitable events. The three-block-long commons is the heart of the project that provides training and conference facilities, meeting spaces, dining, fitness, and terraces overlooking the gardens. Nestled in the historic 1914 headquarters, a new skylit atrium knits together old and new to unify the campus. Awarded LEED-NC Gold certification, the tower’s placement, orientation and massing, along with floor-to-ceiling high-performance glazing results in over 90% of the virtually column-free workspaces to have access to daylight and views. Energy-efficient mechanical systems, including under-floor air and occupancy sensors, reduce energy costs while providing for improved indoor air quality and individual thermal comfort control. The green roof on the commons reduces the heat island effect and absorbs over 512,000 gallons of storm water annually.
Jury Comment: “The tower is an important addition to the neighborhood and the city skyline. The connection to the existing urban fabric is noteworthy. People will enjoy the new gardens. It’s a sophisticated project that sets a high bar for any new construction, which is great.”
Photos: John December and Tom Rossiter