Architect: Flad Architects
Owner: Northwestern University
Contractor: Pepper Construction
Northwestern University’s Technological Institute is one of the largest academic buildings in the world and has undergone numerous additions and renovations since it was built in 1942. The latest expansion involves two infill additions designed to capitalize on space between existing wings. In addition to housing new laboratory and office facilities, each space features a light-filled interior atrium. The exterior of each addition blends seamlessly with the existing building. Materials used on the interior echo the building’s established modern industrial style and sturdy structure. The design centers around access to natural daylight, with each addition organized around its three-story steel-framed glass-roofed atrium, allowing light to reach into corridors, laboratories and offices. A glass floor in one of the atriums acts as a unique organizing element in this large building and allows light to travel even further between levels. The additions are popular meeting spaces for formal and informal gatherings of students, colleagues and departments outside of the research environment in a relaxed open community space.
Jury Comment: “From big ideas down to the details, there was a thoroughness that gave this project distinction. We liked the basic idea of taking this huge interlocking maze of a building and creating these new public spaces that offer a little relief from business as usual and something memorable and unique. The interior spaces are filled with light and beautifully detailed. This project has overall excellence. It upgraded everything. We appreciate the human scale, with the detail brought to eye level. There’s a coherence and a serenity in the new spaces.”
Photos: Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing Photographers and Darris Lee Harris Photography
St. Francis, Wisconsin
Architect: Bray Architects
Owner: City of St. Francis
Contractor: Beyer Construction
The St. Francis Civic Center houses the Police Station, City Hall, Historical Society and Fire Station and is a hub of the community and center of civic service. The rotunda of the center houses permanent and rotating public displays of the city’s Historical Society, while providing a gathering space filled with natural light for public gatherings. The City’s Common Council Chambers also are located within the Administration area.
The center’s thoughtful design pays homage to the hard-working roots of the people of St. Francis while reflecting the city’s transitioning perspective of itself, marked by new relationships with large headquarters that have recently relocated there and the formation of major regional partnerships.
The 42,000 square foot, $9.75 million building replaced an undersized and antiquated existing civic center building which served the St. Francis community for over 60 years. The Police Department offers the latest in spaces for Administrative and Patrol, Detainee and Evidence Processing, Investigation and Major Case and a full Municipal Court. The Fire Department houses four pull-through Apparatus Bays, Training Room/Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Fitness Center, Staff and Intern Bunk Rooms
The building’s central public gathering space, the circular rotunda, is uniquely sited such that its central axis is the terminus of Lipton Avenue; which links the civic center to Greene Park – the community’s two civic amenities. The five acre site is located along Howard Ave, a critical circulation corridor within the community. The site also houses the trail-head for a newly developed public nature trail.
The site was a remnant of an abandoned power-plant, the remediation needs of which made it highly unattractive to developers, so the site remained of little value to the city’s tax roll. In addition, a very large utility line runs diagonally underground through the length of the site. Adherence to very strict soils guidelines to accommodate the sensitivity of the line included depth considerations and use of highly specialized fill along its length. Combined with existing wetlands, the site, overall, was an enormous challenge,
The design and construction team managed extensive remediation and worked closely with the DNR to utilize aggressive storm water management techniques. The site today is a beautiful and welcoming center of the community. Spring will welcome a beautifully landscaped area surrounding the building.
Photos: Saturn Lounge/Robert Ness
Architect: Kahler Slater
Owner: Elgin Community College
Contractor: LAMP Incorporated
This new educational center offers real-world hands-on experiential learning opportunities for students in the health professions and, at the same time, creates a new gateway to an established community college campus in northern Illinois. The Health & Life Sciences Building also encourages interprofessional learning and helps to redefine the college as a strong partner within the local community. A green courtyard was used as a design feature to organize the building’s program spaces and massing. Exterior building materials of brick and stone reference the traditional campus architecture. The exterior design elements and details are repeated in the interior to create a sense of unity between the indoor and outdoor spaces. The design of the building incorporates natural light, study areas near green space, interior windows to offer views into classrooms, glass walls between wings to reinforce the feeling of connection and openness, and flexible classroom environments to encourage collaborative learning. The open glass-clad building offers a striking gateway to the college and serves as a landmark for the community while raising the bar for health science education.
Jury Comment: “The quality of this building is impressive. It is well done. While the building looks very high-end, you know it can’t be that expensive. They were able to take a community college budget and make it feel like a university building. The layout and integration of the courtyard is successful in getting daylight in all the spaces. It speaks to the value these institutions are providing to their communities.”
Photos: Kate Joyce
Architect: HGA Architects and Engineers
Owners: City of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Public Library Board of Trustees
Contractor: Scherrer Construction Co., Inc.
East Library located on this vibrant downtown site, was designed with attention to a retail philosophy about the high value of the storefront - displaying a new 21st Century library environment as a civic destination, transformed into a relevant communal place. It is a place of intergenerational gathering welcoming the diverse community at large.to gather, read and learn. Prominent features include: the North Avenue “Living Room,” – complete with a donor funded fireplace which literally serves as the hearth for this east side neighborhood. The library is complete with meeting and study rooms; collaboration areas; desktop, laptop and tablet computers for check out increase computer use and customer comfort; and spatial variety creates unique, age-specific spaces filled with deep physical and electronic collections for adults, children and teens. Automatic material handling equipment and express check stations reduce repetitive motions for staff and free up staff time for more personalized, customer centric tasks.
Memorable artifacts of the former library were salvaged and reused to honor the library’s history on the site and to create a sense of place. During demolition, the original Conrad Schmitt Studios-designed slab glass panels were recovered and used as inspiration for the interior material palette, and were reassembled to form an illuminated ribbon of color. Tongue and groove wood ceiling boards were reclaimed to create the ceiling of the children and adult collections. These boards were milled and installed into a custom steel frame to add warmth and intimacy as well as to conceal lighting, sprinklers, HVAC diffusers. Five-inch structural glue-laminated timber beams were also salvaged and fabricated to create laptop bars along the exterior windows and a bench at the main entry.
The library design organizes the collections around a “marketplace” spine to provide customers with convenient access to library staff, reserved materials and express checks for those who want an independent library experience. Mobile displays merchandising new materials and information fill the market place reinforcing this as a “retail” environment. The market is intentionally a high activity area, centralizing noise and patron traffic in a single zone, while allowing noise to dissipate in the quieter areas of the library.
The elliptical, community meeting room is at the heart of the new library. It encourages patrons to circulate around the room and is constructed of translucent channel glass, allowing natural light into the room itself as well as into the library spaces beyond. The room features full height, custom pivot wooden doors on both ends of the room which allow the room to be permeable. Left open, the room invites people to use the room as a quiet reading area; or closed, the room becomes a private space for meetings and programs.
Public art was integrated into the project. The rock and pebble sculptures create exterior seating to enliven the landscape and serves as wayfinding tools for the library’s main entry. Interior artwork includes a topographical map of Milwaukee’s East Side, featured near the entry. A bench, made from a section of an elm tree previously located near the former library entry, cantilevers off of a column and provides lobby seating and a place for contemplation. A third local artist created murals comprised of architectural photos taken near existing Milwaukee Public Library branches, creating a bold graphic treatment for the ceiling of the community room and the prominent wall of the living room.
Photo: JK Fotos
Architect: Kahler Slater
Owner: University of Wisconsin Department of Facilities Development
Contractor: J.H. Findorff & Sons
With one of the top men’s and women’s hockey teams in the nation, the University of Wisconsin-Madison set out to create a new home for their national champion teams. The design team helped conceptualize an arena that could blend seamlessly into the existing experiences of the Kohl Center that hosts men’s hockey events. The new arena needed to complement the Kohl Center – an iconic building for the campus and the City of Madison – while also defining a visual and physical identity for the hockey program. The design solution challenged original expectations from the Athletic Department and transformed the new Arena from a simple ice sheet addition, to a well-defined identity and the “Home for Hockey” at UW Madison.
The design team was challenged to provide creative site strategies to meet the University’s program and create a new identity for the hockey teams without sacrificing the campus experience for fans and student athletes. An ideal, though extremely tight, location was chosen and proved to be the most challenging aspect of the project. The hockey arena bowl itself occupied almost the entire footprint causing concerns that the building would become a deterrent for those attending campus events. Beyond the hockey space needs, the program required the new Arena to provide locker suites for both the swim and basketball teams located in the adjacent Kohl Center and Southeast Recreational Facility (SERF).
Creative planning resulted in a solution that takes advantage of site adjacencies and avoids competing overlap between the various sports teams and their respective fans. Hockey locker room facilities were constructed under the Kohl Center plaza in order to provide a central location for the teams between the Kohl Center and LaBahn Arena. These locker rooms act as an “underground bridge” between the two facilities, and preserve the exterior plaza for fans before and after events in both facilities. Innovative BubbleDeck structural technology was used above the hockey locker rooms to minimize concrete while providing much needed ceiling heights below. To gain space, the third floor is cantilevered over the ice surface. At this level, a bridge connects new swimming locker rooms in LaBahn to the practice pool in the SERF. The bridge doubles as a visual and physical gateway for fans coming to Kohl Center events from East Campus Mall.
While complementing the iconic Kohl Center, the LaBahn Arena defines a visual and physical identity for the hockey program with its design. Alternating glass and precast concrete panels reflect the vertical rhythm of the Kohl Center and provide visual intrigue along the north promenade. The south façade incorporates precast concrete and metal panels to blend seamlessly into the existing composition of the campus. The building’s design allows views into the main concourse and the arena from the exterior for snap-shot passerby views. Above, long horizontal metal panels alternate in thickness and color, mimicking the horizontal glass panels of the adjacent Center while still providing a unique, contemporary look for the LaBahn Arena.
Environmental branding and graphics immerse fans and student athletes in the UW hockey experience. The “Home for Hockey” identity resonates throughout the main concourse, celebrating the sport. Integrated into a red soffit that extends the entire length of the concourse, the story of hockey acts as a visual beacon from both inside and out of the facility. A panoramic view of the rink at the center of the concourse is provided with the End Ice Viewbox and allows spectators to experience the game from the goalies perspective. The Viewbox is contrasted by alternating wall graphics showcasing the vast history of Wisconsin hockey and is designed to create a truly unique experience for fans.
Completed in 2012, the LaBahn Arena was designed to provide the best experience for the student athletes, resulting in success both on and off the ice. The design successfully blends the complexity of program requirements with the Kohl Center, SERF, and active site context. The facility celebrates the strong tradition and success of both the men’s and women’s hockey program while enhancing the existing experiences of the area.
Photos: C+N Photography, Peter McCullough, David Stluka
Architect: Engberg Anderson Architects
Owner: Milwaukee County, Department of Administrative Services
Facility Management Division – Architecture and Engineering
Contractor: C.D. Smith Construction Services
Passengers collecting their baggage are discovering a more welcoming experience and comfortable environment upon arrival in Milwaukee. The 45,000 sf passenger service main floor of the Baggage Claim building was remodeled to include a two-story, sky lit, art inspired gathering space, well-appointed and approachable baggage service offices, illuminated wayfinding and code compliant restrooms. Five new conveyor/carousels operate effectively and efficiently reducing wait time. An expansive glass canopy extends the full length of the building protecting pedestrians and vehicles from inclement weather. Non-public new additions include a ten-office suite located on the second floor, mechanical penthouses and an electrical switchgear room that supports baggage claim operations and limits service loads on the main terminal. The project scope emphasizes Milwaukee County’s commitment to public service through facility design and operation.
The new facility successfully met the Owner’s primary intention to improve passenger service and satisfaction. Redesign of the structural system allowed the interior spaces to have higher ceilings, to integrate skylights across the length of the entire building, to add second floor office space and to support an extensive green roof system. Higher ceilings coupled with new MKE blue illuminated signage enable passengers, greeters and staff to connect, locate services, and circulate to designated meeting areas and exterior transport sites. The abundant natural light from the skylights and full height curtainwall reduces the use of artificial lighting during daylight hours. Electrical load reductions are metered by the buildings new system controls and monitored by airport engineering. This information is also featured via an educational display monitor located near the baggage carousels. Interior finishes were selected for their extreme durability and low maintenance. The elegant and subdued palette comprised of wood veneer interior wall and ceiling panels, aluminum storefront, translucent glass panels and terrazzo flooring, provide a pleasant backdrop in the highly active zone.
Built in the 1950s, the Baggage Claim building was the original airport terminal. Over subsequent years, the building was remodeled through several additions and the airport campus expanded to include the terminal, concourses, corporate hangars and air force wing. Eventually, this original structure became the Baggage Claim building that serves the medium size airport. In use for over 60 years, the building envelope, interior, MEP, and general construction had deteriorated. The facility did not meet current ADA and building codes, was very dimly lit, poorly signed, environmentally uncomfortable and the baggage handling equipment frequently failed. GMIA with the AE team, elected to remodel the existing facility into a showcase for energy efficiency, effective operations, managed controls and comfortable interiors. LEED Certification became the basis for all relevant decisions concerned with materials, comfort, operation, maintenance and constructability. Major elements included all new building system controls which monitor system operations and meter energy consumption for electrical power, lighting, HVAC as well as water consumption.
MKE’s commitment to Green Airport Practice included applying for and receiving a Milwaukee Focus on Energy Grant for daylight and energy use modeling, applying for and receiving a MMSD grant for the 5,000 sf green roof visible to all airport users via two skywalks with supportive education display kiosks, and participating in a Pilot Program with Milwaukee WasteCap to monitor construction waste and recycling. In addition, GMIA recently received Honorable Mention at the Airports Going Green 2015 Conference sponsored by the Chicago Department of Aviation and the American Association of Airport Executives.
Photos: C&N Photography, Inc.
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Architect: Bray Architects
Owner: School District of La Crosse
Contractor: Fowler & Hammer, Inc.
Northside Elementary School is an 87,000 sf, two-story PreK-5 elementary school in La Crosse, WI. The new building replaces two smaller schools and was designed to maximize efficiencies on a tight urban site.
The site was divided into three section: a public play area/field turf plaza located off the main public street to be used by the community all year long; the building itself which stretches across the middle portion of the site, with a main East-West corridor that links drop off entrances located on the two bordering side streets; and the central circulation spine which provides a connection through the building for access to the parking lot and the gym.
Two internal light courts provide natural daylight to all learning spaces and many corridors. Additionally, the courtyards allow for safe and secure outdoor spaces for outside education, expanded cafeteria seating, and a kindergarten playground.
Photos: Bill Kult and Jack Flieg
Architect: Flad Architects
Owner: State of Wisconsin Division of Facilities Development
Contractor: J.H. Findorff & Son Inc.
Located among modern science and engineering buildings on the UW-Madison campus, this project involved the restoration and renovation of history-rich buildings for instructional purposes, demolition of an outdated laboratory facility and construction of a new state-of-the-art Biochemical Sciences Building research tower. The reorganization of the site opened a pedestrian throughway that was part of the original master plan, stitching the complex back into the fabric of the larger campus. Although modern in style, the new tower incorporates aesthetic qualities derived from the adjacent historic structures. For example, the terra cotta rain screen façade and sunshading elements gesture to the turn-of-the-century clay tile roofs of the neighboring buildings. Designed to be buoyant, an abundance of glass and anodized aluminum helps mitigate the shift in scale. The tower’s articulation responds to the established structures at each elevation. The arrangement of each floor reflects the desire to bring people together. Laboratories, offices and classrooms are supported by break rooms, a café and administrative offices – all contributing to collaborative scientific endeavors. The complex has created a physical environment that fosters learning, research and community.
Jury Comment: “With a very tight site and a large building, this project was very impressive in the way the design helped to pull the entire complex together. The public space around the research tower seems very successful – due, in part, to the texture of the façade. The terra cotta is beautifully detailed and creates energy as this detailing continues into the interior. The use of daylight and public spaces on every level encourages student interaction. There was a thoughtful use of color and scale derived from the context materials and transformed into the new building. A technically sophisticated project, it is still a very humane place.”
Photo: Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing Photographers