Architect: Isthmus Architecture, Inc.
Owner: Al. Ringling Theatre Friends, Inc.
Contractor: Joe Daniels Construction Co.
The rehabilitation of this historic landmark theatre returns an important cultural icon to its original elegance while incorporating a complete upgrade of building systems and new technology. The intimate 785-seat Al. Ringling Theatre, constructed in 1915, is widely acknowledged as the first complete example of the American Movie Palace. Through extensive research, thoughtful collaborative design and careful integration of new technology, the successful rehabilitation and restoration revitalizes the theatre into a highly efficient, sustainable and much more comfortable facility. Beginning with a comprehensive Historic Structure Report, the overall project focused on the restoration of all the elaborate historic elements, providing code compliant life safety upgrades, tightening of the thermal envelope, expanding public restrooms and improving universal accessibility. The central portion of the roof at the auditorium was replaced to mitigate further damage of the extensive gilded plasterwork, hand-painted canvas murals and fire curtain, and lavish velvet draperies on the interior. A staff of decorative finishes specialists and several conservators were on site fulltime to restore the interior. The original interior lighting and the prominent entrance marquee were carefully restored. The theatre reopened with a sold-out performance. Reflecting the strong community support and value of state and federal tax incentives, the rehabilitation ensures the ongoing viability of a significant local gem of American culture.
Jury Comment: “This is a beautiful execution of a thoughtful and incredibly sensitive restoration of an important building. It lets the building continue to be the star. It is really good architectural work that too often does not get the recognition it deserves. The project was intellectually driven. It feels celebratory, like the architecture of joy, where everyone involved couldn’t wait to get to work.”
Photos: Bill Johnsen
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Architect: Somerville Architects & Engineers
Owner: The Automoblie Gallery
Contractor: Schuh Construction Inc.
When you’re housing a 1959 Buick Electra 225 or a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 you want simply to showcase the beauty of the vehicles, complementing the exquisite precision of their design. The Automobile Gallery does just that, seamlessly spotlighting the historic integrity of this former Cadillac dealership while modernizing its utility.
The result is an 18,060 square-foot vibrant backdrop that stuns, yet takes a back seat to the prized automobiles. It began with the rejuvenation of a building that had served as storage space for nearly two decades. The exterior’s prominent rust stains and dark bronze features belied its glory days as a flagship facility for Cadillac. Updated heating, cooling and plumbing systems are kept unobtrusive and are incorporated into the original structure, modernizing and re-energizing the building.
Part gallery, part event space, the modern and minimalist atmosphere serves both roles perfectly through design cues similar to those found at Porsche, Lamborghini and Ferrari museums around the world. The overarching theme throughout the building is secretly functional but with versatility fitting a facility with uses ranging from elegant receptions to informal parties. The gallery also houses a catering kitchen and outdoor terrace able to accommodate up to 350 guests.
Candy apple red cars stand out against the white walls and are reflected in the polished concrete floor. Chrome rims shine down from stark white lifts in a room of precisely crafted acoustics. And there is a significance behind each touch of color. Red hues woven throughout pay tribute to founder William “Red” Lewis. Brilliant red glass walls provide reference points guiding you through the gallery, where automobile artwork and a custom engine coffee table complete the look.
The upper-level executive conference room is fully loaded with a state-of-the-art meeting space sitting atop the grand gallery. The former parts mezzanine has a series of sliding glass doors overlooking the showroom. Extensive thought and planning behind even the most minute detail create a harmonious flow, maintaining the building’s original form and function but using it all in a new way, for an aesthetic that takes its cues from the machines it houses.
Photos: Ryan Photography
Architect: HGA Architects and Engineers
Owner: Milwaukee Art Museum
Contractor: Hunzinger Construction Company
Located on the shoreline of Lake Michigan, this project at the Milwaukee Art Museum involved a new addition with an entrance at the lakefront and the complete renovation of existing permanent galleries. The museum was built in three phases – the original 1955 building, a 1975 addition for the permanent collection and a 2001 expansion with a new main lobby, changing gallery and lecture hall. The new addition grafted onto the 1970s wing takes the form of a cantilever facing the lake, under which an all-glass first floor allows visual transparency between the building and lakefront. It creates a new waterfront entry atrium with a café, lounges and sculpture galleries with water views while allowing for an expansion of the contemporary galleries as well as a new changing gallery. The new addition is clad in darkened stainless steel panels that harmonize with the color of the existing concrete building and reflects the ever changing light of the water and atmosphere with a diffuse matt finish. Deep-set apertures provide views of the lake, city bluffs and newest wing of the museum. The addition also includes new stairs to a rooftop terrace at the level of the downtown bluff top, allowing pedestrians to walk directly onto the roof from the city, view the lake below and then descend the stairs to the lakefront walk. The existing permanent collection galleries were completely renovated, with new gallery partitions and visitor-friendly organization.
AIA Wisconsin Design Award Winner: Merit Award
Jury Comment: “Understated and functional, the architect creatively organized the new addition to optimize its site and serve as an elegantly simple foil to the existing museum. The new entrance addresses the lakefront simply and calmly.”
Photos: Dustin Dupree and Tom Bamberger
West Bend, Wisconsin
Architect: HGA Architects and Engineers
Owner: Museum of Wisconsin Art
Contractor: M.A. Mortenson
The new museum, located along the Milwaukee River across from West Bend’s historic downtown, houses the collection, preservation and exhibition of artworks by artists who have lived and worked in Wisconsin. The unique triangular building, clad in a variegated skin of fiber cement panels in different shades of white with glass apertures, not only fits precisely into its redevelopment site, but also fits the program needs of the museum by providing a range of different sized galleries. The acute north tip of the building is cut away to reveal a monumental stairway and create a dynamic glass wedge that forms an iconic element for the museum. In the southwest corner, a tall two-story opening provides an entrance into the atrium as well as views of downtown and down the length of the river. A curving stairway provides access to the galleries on the second floor. All the galleries have 16-foot tall ceilings, with tall freestanding wall planes to create a series of galleries and provide mechanical services for this space. The first floor contains space for educational programs, lectures, curatorial services and administrative support. The interior is designed with minimal white surfaces and doors, sidelights, railings and clerestories of transparent frameless glass.
Jury Comment: “This is a beautiful project that was well executed with a limited budget. The architect was really given a challenge – and the solution is very successful in the simplicity of the plan and the form as well as the selection of materials. The architect was smart to let the site talk and tell them what to do. It all works. The site is magical; and the community deserves a lot of credit for selecting it for the new museum. The materials and palette are refreshingly clean and a wonderful backdrop for the artwork. The project is diabolically simple.”
Photos: Darris Lee Harris Photography
Architect: Flad Architects and Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects
Owner: Indiana University
Contractor: The Hagerman Group
Indiana University is a beautiful campus steeped in a deep wooded setting where majestic buildings of Indiana limestone speak of an enduring legacy through a material of permanence. The Jacobs School of Music East Studio Building incorporates this rich architectural history into the final design.
The East Studio Building was designed as a metaphor for the musical experience. A fluid movement of rich textures define our path as we move through the site, continuing into the building in a gently fluid movement.
The façade of the building is articulated through the rhythm of the windows and curved stone forms.
Situated along the south edge of campus, the structure’s corner tower signals entry into the campus and entry into the building.
As one of the most comprehensive and acclaimed institutions for the study of music, the East Studio Building plays a key role in educating performers, scholars, and music instructors who influence performance around the globe.
Faculty teaching studios, practice rooms, classrooms, student spaces, and administrative offices are brought together here to extend the school’s rich history into the future.
Photos:Susan Fleck Photography
Architect: Kahler Slater
Contractor: Riley Construction
Snap-on Incorporated is the global leader in high-performance tools and solutions for a diverse range of critical challenges. Founded in 1920 in Kenosha, WI, the company manufactured and marketed ten sockets that would "snap on" to five interchangeable handles, a concept that revolutionized the tool industry. As they closed in on 100 years of business, Snap-on wished to celebrate its rich history with the associates and customers that created its organization. Their existing 2,528 sf museum space was overpopulated by artifacts and ineffectively represented the Snap-on history. A new space needed to be designed in a way that best reflected the Snap-on brand, what they have accomplished and the global impact they have made.
The main project objective was to take the existing artifacts and create an environment where architecture and exhibits are seamlessly integrated, giving the visitor a memorable impression of the Snap-on brand and its lasting legacy. The design of the museum was intentionally minimal and straightforward, allowing visitors to take a guided tour or peruse the content on their own. The aesthetic evokes the high-tolerance and high-precision methodology of the company – minimalism and a limited color palette emphasize Snap-on’s primary red brand color.
The overall project is comprised of 4,261 sf of remodeled space, encompassing an expanded lobby, expanded museum and support program: curator’s office, kitchen, servery and storage. The museum is divided into three experience zones: the arrival zone, main museum hall and flex exhibit/dining area. There are over 500 artifacts that depict people and events from its 100-year history.
Upon entry, dark zinc metal cladding transitions from the exterior to the interior, with a large sweeping curve terminating into the existing commons space. A neighboring iconic red feature wall takes shape, embossed with the company's founding year. The entry orientation allows a more private entry experience and faces Snap-on’s innovation workshop area. Custom metal grate soffit panels, monolithically backlit, highlight the entry and blackened diamond plate steel flooring frames the entry, leading you into the museum's arrival zone space.
A low curved ceiling supporting a suspended video wall displaying Snap-on's iconic logo sets the tone of the arrival zone. Automated media and lighting, interchangeable client-focused graphics and the first original Snap-on tools are displayed as the revolutionary "five do the work of fifty" story is shared. The story continues with a 150-foot internally illuminated timeline wall, featuring custom recessed casework with metallic peg-board panels that provide changeability of artifacts and displays while evoking a "shop" feel.
Located in the center of the space is the main museum hall divided up by three seamless LED square pendant fixtures. Each square defines a specific exhibit theme: diagnostic, tool storage, delivery and sales exhibit areas. Large dark acoustical ceiling panels are suspended above the lights, extending the entire length of the hall to define the space and provide acoustical attenuation. The hall continues with an iconic red wall extending from the embossed entry feature. A custom rail system is built into this wall for flexibility of additional storylines. The multi-functioning rails allow graphics to be inserted, magnetic graphics to adhere to the face, and heavy 3D elements to lock into this system.
At the end of this space is the flex exhibit/dining area, a dual-purpose space that functions as exhibit and a unique dining experience. Snap-on fabricated custom mobile tool boxes provide storage and display surface for museum artifacts. Hidden away is a kitchen and servery area to support the dining experience in the museum. A large pivot wall allows food service staff to access the museum space during the dining experience. A long line of custom casework, skinned in painted high-gloss steel to resemble a mobile tool box, is provided in the servery area to support the food service staff or create a buffet setting.
The Snap-on museum is a world-class space with many unique features that make it unlike any other corporate museum. The story of Snap-on is clearly showcased and the history of the brand is elevated so that anyone who walks into the space comes away with a deep understanding of the company. This story, combined with a dramatic and elegant design, creates a memorable experience for visitors.
Photos: Peter McCullough
University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
Architect: River Architects, Inc. & SmithGroupJJR
Owner: State of Wisconsin - Division of State Facilities
Contractor: Miron Construction
The goal of this project was to consolidate the various departments of the College of Education and Human Sciences into one location. The departments of English and Foreign Language, which work with the education programs, were to co-locate in the new building, along with student services, which were in several locations on campus. These services include the Student Success Center, Services for Students with Disabilities, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Another key component was the inclusion of twenty-two new general assignment classrooms to replace existing spaces and re-balance the mix on campus. The new classrooms ranged in sizes from 45- to 160-seat rooms with active learning features. The space allocation outlined 114,600 assignable square feet totaling 182,000 gross square feet distributed over four levels.
Located within UW-Eau Claire’s academic core, the new building sits on the eastern edge of the lower campus. The two-acre site is compact and prominent, and is bookended on the north by the Zorn Arena/Kjer Theater/Brewer Hall complex, with Schneider Hall to the south. The west side opens to the central campus mall and is directly across from Schofield Hall. The east side abuts Park Avenue, which serves as the eastern edge of campus, and connects to the historic Third Ward residential district. The generally flat, L-shaped parcel provided approximately 49,000 GSF of buildable area.
The site offered a plethora of opportunities to shape the design solution. The narrow L-shaped rectangular parcel positioned between existing buildings on the north and south, and open to the central campus quad on the west and the historic Third Ward residential district to the east establishes key scale, massing and entrance scenarios. The three entrances and vertical circulation are strategically positioned at the southwest (campus mall), southeast (near parking), and the northeast (campus entrance) to respond to student use and campus planning patterns.
One of the main benefits provided by the narrow and elongated east-west axis site was the extended north and south elevation planes for harvesting this preferred orientation daylight. One of the primary design objectives was to place the highest concentration of students on the lowest floor levels to reduce the vertical circulation congestion at class changes. The main circulation route on the first and second floor is a single loaded, wide hallway on the south face with near floor to ceiling windows for natural light and view opportunities. This memorable route is punctuated with multiple cost-effective two-story open spaces to promote inter-level spatial dialogue.
The exterior design and building massing was derived from a goal to respond to the scale of the adjacent buildings. Schofield Hall, to the west of Centennial Hall, is the symbolic heart of campus. Schofield’s three-story massing is characterized by brick and stone facades articulated with brick pilasters, collegiate Gothic details, and a symmetric rhythm of solid brick wall mass flanking areas of large, punched windows with stone surrounds. Centennial Hall’s four-story design sets the fourth floor back, most notably at the east and west facades, and renders it in cast stone to reduce the appearance of the building’s mass, responding to the immediate context. The three-story massing of the west facade is punctuated by a stone tower recalling the tower on Schofield Hall, which serves as a landmark for the campus. Two-story pilasters frame large glass openings that provide a visual connection between the interior two-story volume of the building lobby and cyber café to the campus green.
The north and east facades use similar devices to reference the building’s context. The north facade is designed in anticipation of the planned demolition of Zorn Arena and Brewer Hall, recognizing that in the future, the north facade will be a prominent campus face. The east facade uses a quieter articulation of punched openings, responding to the residential character of the historic Third Ward neighborhood to the east.
The south facade features a continuous, two-story colonnade, recalling the two-story pilasters found on Schofield Hall. The colonnade provides a sense of scale to the facade while also creating a covered passage connecting Park Avenue and the adjacent Eau Claire community, to Schofield and the heart of the campus green. The curving wall recalls the Chippewa River, the economic origin for the City of Eau Claire, as well as Little Niagara, a meandering creek that is envisioned to be a more prominent feature in the campus Master Plan. The wall also creates a dynamic interior of the public corridor, with eddies for informal collaboration where the curve swells. The juncture of the south and west facades, right above the main student entrance, are the stacked collaborative learning spaces with their curved curtain wall of frit glazing overlooking the central campus quad.
Photos: Critical Eye Photography
Architect: Mead & Hunt
Owner: State of Wisconsin - Division of Facilities Development and UW Whitewater
Contractor: Miron Construction Co., Inc.
This project began as a master plan to renovate six 1960s-era residence halls clustered together on the west side of the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater campus. The planning goals were to provide an updated image for all six halls, and incorporate key components of the campus mission for Universal Design, thus exceeding basic ADA guidelines. The pre-design study provided a detailed physical assessment of all six buildings. The intention was to then bring two of the six forward as the first phase of a renovation/addition project. Instead of the typical single addition to each building that had been done in prior residence hall renovations, the solution constructed a “Link” building between two existing buildings, The building link solution provided numerous benefits: offering more social spaces, elevator redundancy, a defined front entry offering secure access, consolidating front desk services, added 40 new beds, and, most importantly, allowed access for all students to visit and live on all floors.
This project renovated Arey & Fricker Residence halls. Both are a four-story plus basement, (28,359/47,733 ASF/GSF) residence hall constructed in 1963 and 1964. The project adds 19,835 GSF to connect the two halls and provide program space. The project renovated existing rooms, renewed building finishes, replaced windows and exterior doors, enlarged and reconfigured restrooms, addressed deferred maintenance, replaced the roofs, addressed health and safety code compliance issues, replaced MEP systems, provided standby power and added fire sprinklers throughout.
The design team’s approach to implementing both the initial study and the design process was critical to achieving the goals and objectives of the university and the team’s design solutions. Using a highly transparent process allowed for input and discussion from various project stakeholders. These stakeholders included UW-Whitewater residence hall directors, students with disabilities, resident life administration, current students, recent alumni, campus planning and facilities managers, with the University of Wisconsin System representatives and State of Wisconsin Division of Facilities Development (DFD) project managers.
To meet DFD’s long, life-cycle requirements, the Link building’s exterior envelope is a CMU rain-screen construction. The skin then offers complimentary materials of metal panels, cast stone and curtain walls to distinguish new areas from the adjoining, existing brick masonry buildings. Dark bronze windows, roof caps, and metal panels on the “Link” match similar components on the existing buildings to tie the three areas together. Dark bronze canopies distinguish the entries and provide covered outdoor gathering areas.
The challenges of this project were meeting the expectations of universal design, current code and modern amenities of a new residence hall while also aligning with the existing building constraints and a 7’- 8 5/8” floor-to-ceiling height. All new mechanical, plumbing, and technology systems were carefully coordinated to distribute horizontally in the lower level ceiling, where the headroom was less constrained, and then run vertically to each of the floors with repetitive floor plans. Electrical routing was then weaved horizontally through the floors. Early design BIM modeling and intense field-constructed mock-ups were used to provide successful, accelerated installations.
Interior spaces were upgraded with bright pops of color, “sweater-y” carpet textures, bold tile accent walls and integrated door-frame marker-boards at each resident room. Dark bronze metals, door frames and window frames tie the historic, mid-century modern vocabularies to the new. Open, group shower areas were replaced with private stalls and changing areas. The lower levels were transformed to trendy areas for students to hang out, with an open game room and kitchen, semi-quiet and quiet study areas, laundry and vending rooms, a multipurpose room and a computer lab.
The design team also took special care to provide additional Universal Design features at the interior. These features include ADA residence rooms on all floors, a double ADA residence room, so students in wheelchairs can have roommates, a private, accessible toilet/shower room on each floor, swing-clear hinge replacements on existing residence room door frames and ADA compliant operable windows for all rooms.
Photos: Image Studios, Inc.
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Architect: Flad Architects
Owner: State of Wisconsin -Division of Facilities Development
Contractor: CG Schmidt, Inc.
The dynamic imagery of the Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Complex (IRC) is an assemblage of components, a metaphor for the research and innovation happening within. As the first new science building to be completed on campus in 20 years, the Kenwood IRC occupies a prominent location on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus, making a progressive architectural statement that celebrates the importance of participation in the sciences. With a goal of continued advancement of research, education, collaboration, and outreach, this structure anchors a new science quad and sets the stage for a site that is connected, interactive, and interdisciplinary.
Located in a dense urban campus setting, the Kenwood IRC is uniquely sited along a major east-west pedestrian thoroughfare, presenting a significant design opportunity to engage and interact with the campus community. Given the cold climate that persists through much of the academic year, a two-story ground level lobby generously accommodates an interior route while an outdoor loggia along the southern façade provides a covered walking path during warmer months. The lobby has emerged as a place where students stop and study between classes; the building’s public areas are always active and vibrant.
The five-story, state-of-the-art facility is a machine for investigation into numerous scientific disciplines ranging from physics to biology to chemistry. These cross-disciplinary research endeavors are supported by flexible laboratory designs and abundant collaboration space. The facility’s design is targeting a minimum of LEED Gold certification with a wide range of strategies benefitting the environment, users of the building, and the region as a whole.
Photos: Lendrum Photography and Hedrich Blessing Photographers
Architect: Mead & Hunt, Inc.
Owner: Rock County
Contractor: Immel Construction, Inc.
The Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport was in need of an updated, larger terminal building to better serve the airport and the surrounding community. The airport itself served as a destination point for many aviators as well as the general public due to its very successful restaurant, with magnificent views of the runway and airplane activity.
With the understanding that this airport serves as a gateway to the local community, it was important that the new image was not only identifiable but also welcoming and memorable. The building’s main entrance and central axis is made prominent with an elevated roofline. Rich, textural limestone frames the strong horizontal lines of the glazed curtain wall and carries a continuous connection from the public side to the airfield. Because of the abundance of curtain wall that maximizes views throughout the terminal, a dark glass was selected to best control heat gain into the building while still allowing some privacy for interior spaces. The glass entry canopies provide an elegant transition from the exterior into the light filled interior, maintaining the desired light and airy appearance.
The strength and texture of the exterior stone continues into the lobby as the main feature. This impressive wall highlights the lobby as a gathering place and emphasizes the promenade to the airfield drawing one through the space. Designed with generous space, the lobby is inviting and flooded with natural light as exterior views are available from every angle.
Flanking this main axis to the east is the restaurant, which is given prominence and ideal views of the apron. To the west, there are the main airport/community functions. Two large, flexible meeting spaces were provided to engage the public and draw local groups to the terminal. New administration offices, toilet rooms, and private pilot lounge were also provided to better serve the basic airport functions. Rich colors and textures used throughout the interior of the terminal to both modernize the facility and elevate the patron’s experience, making this a welcoming regional airport to remember.
Architect: Hirsch Group Architecture
Owner: Wingra Schools
Contractors: Supreme Structures
This well thought-out structure integrates innovative and standard materials, seamlessly merging form and function simply and forcefully.
The client, Wingra School, an elementary school in Madison, Wisconsin, requested a structure designed to advance their goal of students learning from nature. What was envisioned was a fun place to sit, think & learn, adaptable, light and airy.
With a first glance this outdoor classroom structure immediately delivers what is asked of it: providing a pleasant, sheltered, flexibly defined outdoor classroom for young learners. Beyond that goal, it delivers additional design value on several levels: aesthetic, psychological, architectural, structural, and educational - it is a classroom first, and last.
Aesthetically, the structural use of the repurposed trees, with inherent natural shapes and textures, echoes living trees in the wooded neighborhood. Trees in their original form make the structure a welcome neighbor.
Psychologically , the use of repurposed trees as roof supports conveys feeling of a sturdy sheltering atmosphere, a legacy of trusted association with trees, even among the youngest intended users.
Architecturally , the tree supports and their geometry in plan effortlessly define the space as they might in a clearing in a forest.
Structurally , the vertical wooden supports remain intact as trees and retain and repurpose every bit of the strength grown into (or built into, said another way) by the tree itself. The trees are structural elements, capable of load bearing equal to conventional timbers.
Educationally, as an outdoor classroom suggests, teaching about the natural environment will be on the lesson plan.
Photos: Paul McMahon
Architect: The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc.
Owner: The Edwin E. & Janet L. Bryant Foundation, Inc.
Contractor: Vogel Brothers Building Co.
The architect was hired by the Bryant Foundation, Inc. of Stoughton, Wisconsin to design an interpretive center that traced the history of Norwegian emigration to Wisconsin during the 19th century. The vision was to create a symbiotic balance between architecture, artifacts, and contemporary media in a highly integrated fashion to inform both a regional and international audience. The main exhibit hall contains visual and audio interpretations of the journey from Norway, narrated stories of individual immigrants, plus physical displays of cultural artifacts brought to America. A temporary exhibit space offers displays from other Norwegian heritage and arts organizations. A 68-seat auditorium provides high-definition video related to Norwegian culture and geography. Livsreise is home to a public genealogy research center. The center employs 4 full-time employees and 45 part-time volunteers.
The Center is located on a challenging and highly constrained city lot along downtown Stoughton’s main thoroughfare. An existing single-family residence located adjacent to the southeast corner of the lot constrained building footprint options. The site of a former gas station, soil contamination and a high groundwater level presented additional development challenges.
The site location created a significant opportunity to strengthen and enliven a primary entry point into the historic downtown. The building was brought forward to the street edge and reinforced by a pedestrian friendly covered walkway that also serves as tour bus staging area. To further reinforce pedestrian scale and walkability a modest offstreet parking area was placed to the rear of the building. To mitigate groundwater infiltration an elaborate drain tile system and fully waterproof basement was incorporated into the design.
Livsreise (lifs-rye-sa) translates to “Life’s Journey.” It is a generational journey, encompassing not only the physical journey Norwegian emigrants traveled, but also the continued journey as current generations embrace their Norwegian Heritage.
Livsreise features a contemporary building design inspired by the geometry and bold colors of traditional Norwegian vernacular architecture. The rhythm, scale, and proportion of building elements harmonize with adjacent historic buildings. The building shape allowed the creation of a secluded outdoor rear patio area, enhanced by the thoughtful decision to preserve several large maple trees during construction. Douglas fir timber interior structural elements were shaped to reinforce overall building geometry. The design and location of windows provides abundant natural daylight while strategically controlling light within the main exhibit hall. Douglas Fir tongue and groove ceiling trim is accented by maple interior wood siding. Local Norwegian Rosemaling artists painted wood tiles for the interior. Design of fixed interpretive displays was closely coordinated between the architect and the project’s interpretive design consultant. The Norwegian emigrant story is shared through a host of static and interactive exhibits including the largest array of Planar Mosaic Salvador monitors in the world.
The building is successful on two levels: First, it is an outwardly focused building that meets the Bryant Foundation's goal of supporting and reinforcing the downtown community of Stoughton. Livsreise averages over 1000 visitors (both new and returning) each month, curious to explore their roots or learn more about the story of Norwegian emigration. Busloads of Norwegian tourists, including delegates from the Norwegian government and the Norwegian ambassador to America, have made the journey to Stoughton to see and experience Livsreise.
The design of Livsreise reflects the best traditions of Norwegian architecture, yet it is clearly contemporary in expression. Building details, large and small, have been carefully considered to create a beautifully interlocked and seamless visitor experience. The building connects both emotionally and physically, to visitors young and old. Livsreise is a finely crafted jewel of a building that creates new life and activity in an American community justly proud of its Norwegian immigrant heritage.
Photos: The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc.
Architect: Performa, Inc.
Owner: St. Norbert College
Contractor: Miron Construction Co., Inc.
The existing 100,000 square-foot John R. Minahan Science Hall, built in the early 1960’s, is located on the north side of the St. Norbert College campus adjacent to the Fox River in De Pere, Wisconsin. This dated facility underwent a major transformation to become a state-of-the-art science center. The project consisted of a complete renovation to the main building with new additions constructed at both the east and west ends, increasing the facility’s size to 160,000 square feet. While the existing structure was stripped down, new construction incorporated large windows that bathe the environments used for teaching and interacting. Now named the Gehl-Mulva Science Center, this project represents St. Norbert College’s most significant capital building project to date. It also serves as the primary home of the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Green Bay Campus. The science center houses physics, math, psychology, geology, biology and chemistry, including faculty offices and lounges. These departments have 45 teaching and research labs, 10 classrooms, 1 large lecture hall, student study lounges, small-group workrooms and informal collaborative spaces, a state-of-the-art greenhouse, science gallery, and displays honoring the scientific contributions of Norbertines. The building is also the home to 38 science faculty that were dispersed throughout the campus as the science program grew from the early 1960’s.
The new construction was set up in two phases. The first phase was the west remodel with the east and west additions and the second phase was the east remodel. The purpose of phasing the project was to allow half of the building to remain open for classes which was a strategy that had to be integrated with the design of the facility. The science center was designed in accordance with LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovation and was awarded LEED Gold status in 2015.
An inventive and thoughtful approach for the Gehl-Mulva Science Center nods both to the college’s roots in the Norbertine tradition and its ongoing participation in the Catholic intellectual tradition. The design is both artful and quintessentially Norbertine, integrating the 900-year old Norbertine tradition with the sciences is “an intersection of faith and reason.” The primary design solution was to architecturally explore faith and reason. Beginning with the axial alignment of the institution’s Old St. Joseph’s Church showcasing the compatibility of faith and reason in the science building’s two story atrium that is utilized for these rich conversations. Bible verses are paired with earthly imagery and thoughtful design throughout the building to further elevate this concept.
The vision of the design addresses dictums for the future scientific discovery of infusion and interaction within the existing historic structure. Infusion refers to the integration of teaching and research throughout the curriculum. Interaction refers to developing interdisciplinary scientific relationships within the college community. When incorporated throughout the curriculum, these concepts produce science graduates who understand the complexities of modern scientific research and possess the knowledge and technical skills to be active participants in the scientific community. The Gehl-Mulva Science Center should be considered for an award for its transformation from a dated building into a 21st century state-of-the-art science facility that enhances the lives of those whom use the facility in both their faith and reason, and its impact on the college and local community.
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
UW - Superior
Architect: Workshop Architects
Owner: State of Wisconsin, Division of State Facilities
Contractor: Howard Immel Inc.
As enrollment swelled in the 1960s, the University made plans to double the size of the UW-Superior student population. Over the years the condition of the Halls declined and they became the least desirable choice for campus housing. In 2012, the University decided to renovate Ross and Hawkes Halls.
The two Halls were typical of the 60’s dormitory. Double loaded corridors with no natural light, low floor-to-floor heights, shared toilet and shower rooms and minimal social space. Through a series of design sessions with UW-Superior administration, staff and students design priorities were established. Top priorities were personal toilet rooms, personal showers and more social areas. Within each building, the solution removed the common toilet rooms to open up the central core and bring natural light into new social lounges, creating spaces for community on each floor. Community kitchens and grouped private toilets with showers surround the new open areas. At the scale of the district, the two buildings were joined by a multi-story community space. A floating glulam roof caps glass walls to create a warm and welcoming two level “link” between the buildings. Interior and exterior ramps negotiate the site and existing main floor levels to improve accessibility, wayfinding and the entry experience. Interior platform seating, a fireplace and tiered seating provide a physical and visual connection between the upper lounge and lower level recreation and programming areas. By creating civic spaces at multiple scales, these dynamic interventions transformed two isolated 1960’s dormitories into two connected 21st century residence halls.
Photos: BLG Photo
Architect: Engberg Anderson Architects
Owner: HSI Properties
Contractor: Stevens Construction Corp.
When you put multiple functions in one location, you create a hybrid building where great things happen. HSI Properties and the City of Milwaukee brought a team of design and construction professionals together to complete The Standard @ East Library, a project that adds to the vibrancy and diversity of The East Side. This five-story mixed use, high-end multi-family development included a 17,000-square-foot grey box for the East Library, 3,000-square-feet of retail space, and 99-market rate apartments above two floors of underground parking.
The Standard at East Library is unique in that the “Mixed-use” Library building typology new to Milwaukee. Traditionally, Milwaukee Libraries are free standing buildings. However, as part of Milwaukee Public Library’s “Rethinking Libraries for the 21st Century” Plan, an initiative was set forth to reimagine service models for the Milwaukee Public Library System. The Standard architect led a team of sub-consultants and worked with one contractor for the housing portion of the building, while the library portion was designed by a different architecture firm and constructed by yet another construction firm. The project was treated as two projects in process at the same time. A grey box space was delivered to the library, while the remaining portions of the building were still under construction.
The residential component of the project redefines the standard for urban living on The East Side. This is an amenity-rich apartment experience focused on elevating the lifestyle of its residents. Some of the unit amenities include spacious layouts, high-end fixtures, balconies and programmable climate controls. The building amenities include a fitness center, rooftop deck, underground parking, retail and on-site management in a pet-friendly environment.
Photos: C&N Photography
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