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project involved the restoration and renovation of history-rich buildings for instructional purposes, demolition of an outdated laboratory facility and construction of a new state-of-the-art Biochemical Sciences Building research tower.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