Winner of 2017 Wisconsin AIA Merit Award & Wisconsin IIDA Award of Excellence.
The existing 12-story office building was designed in 1970 and constructed as a fortress in response to the unrest of the 1960s and to house phone company workers without the distractions of daylight and views to the exterior. Time, technology and the office workplace changed, the phone company downsized and the building sat nearly 80 percent empty, creating a dark and uninviting building on one of Madison’s premier entrances to the Capitol Square. This project upgraded and modernized the building to develop an inviting environment for office, retail and restaurant tenants, and the public, while respecting and enhancing the building’s original design.
One of the key concepts of the renovation was to “lighten up” the building to make it more inviting. This started by removing low entrance canopies and installing new, taller entrances with clear glazing and inviting new lobbies that are clearly visible from the exterior. New windows were added in the blank stone walls, and portions of the West Washington Avenue facade were removed and floors cut back to extend additional glass curtainwalls the full height of the occupied floors. Existing bronze-tinted curtainwalls were replaced with new, energy-efficient curtainwall framing and glazing. Not only do these window and curtainwall renovations provide daylight and views that previously did not exist for the building occupants, they have helped provide a new life to the building from the exterior, especially after dark. This building “lightening” also included cleaning and restoring the limestone wall panels cladding the office tower, which had become soiled and dingy looking over the last 45 years.
A key sustainable aspect of the project is its reuse of an under-used existing building in the central business district within walking distance of residential, business, dining, shopping, and cultural activities. The building’s structure and envelope were sound and with some maintenance and renovation this building has found a new life. Electrical and mechanical systems were upgraded for better comfort and energy efficiency. Life safety systems were added and modernized. Insulation was added wherever possible. Elevators were rebuilt using new energy-efficient motors and controls. Renovated floors of the building were fully gutted and asbestos removed to allow for tenant build-outs. And barrier free improvements were made throughout. It is the rebirth of this existing building that the development team is so proud of.
Other features that enhance and make this structure a prime downtown office building include new roof terraces on the 7th and 8th floors; a new indoor, secure bike parking room; fitness room and locker rooms with showers; a new conference room available to all tenants; and two levels of parking and loading dock for tenant use.
Photography: Ryan Hainey