2015 AIA Wisconsin Design Awards
Project Descriptions & Jury Comments
Honor Award
Johnson Controls – Hawley Road
West Allis, Wisconsin
Eppstein Uhen Architects, Inc.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Hunzinger Construction Co.
Johnson Controls, Inc.
This new office space lies within a repurposed circa 1940 manufacturing plant originally owned by Allis
Chalmers. Located in West Allis, it underwent a creative transformation to house a special projects
community of employees and consultants whose assignments require highly collaborative and flexible
workspace that encourages knowledge sharing and interaction. The design solution incorporated a
unifying element – a central gathering area – consisting of a two-story volume that can accommodate
the entire staff for meetings and social events. It features a large video wall for presentations and
messaging, framed with steel beams salvaged during demolition and clad in reclaimed barn wood. The
space creates an airy and light environment of focus rooms, huddle and lounge spaces, team rooms and
recharge areas to promote socializing or provide another workspace venue. There are no single private
offices. Instead, work stations are designed to allow teaming opportunities and are positioned with
access to natural light and views.
Jury Comment: "The corporate interior is eye catching with really nice space that is well laid out. There
is a thoughtful balance of the existing and new elements that complement each other well. The amount
of daylight that floods into the spaces stands out and is based on good planning. While there is a lot
happening, it works nicely together in an airy cohesive headquarters facility."
2015 AIA Wisconsin Design Awards
Project Descriptions & Jury Comments
Honor Award
Pleated House
Door County, Wisconsin
Johnsen Schmaling Architects
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Tielens Construction
Private Client
This home in Door County is a small compact residence nestled in a clearing on the edge of a gently
sloping site where its low-slung silhouette disappears in the forest's dense vegetation. Designing an
unassuming dwelling that shows an attitude of diffidence to the surrounding forest was a key program
requirement. The building is clad in charred cedar from Northern Wisconsin, with its textured blackness
complemented by varnished clear cedar, dark-anodized aluminum and glass. The charred wood boards
were installed over furring strips of varying depths to form a gently folding and undulating building skin,
similar to a pleated curtain. Visitors approach the house from a narrow gravel road that leads to a small
trellised forecourt carved deep into the home’s rectangular mass. A continuous wall of milled lumber,
stacked at slight angles and finished with a lustrous varnish to create a surface of folding ribbons,
extends from the forecourt into the house. Inside, the vestibule connects to an open living space with
an oversized sliding glass door system. A sculptural steel staircase leads to the bedroom suite and a
large vegetated roof covering. The interior is dominated by white walls, white lacquered cabinets and a
grey polished concrete floor.
Jury Comment: "This is a really good house! While it seems simple, there is this layering of texture and
materials that you start to appreciate as you get closer to the entry. It’s just really well done. It adds
this richness and complexity that seems really appropriate for the setting. The detailing is incredible.
There is a sophistication that shows the architects really know how to build houses. From the big
concept down to the details, this is a really successful project – inside and out. It’s a very skillfully
crafted home."
2015 AIA Wisconsin Design Awards
Project Descriptions & Jury Comments
Honor Award
Collector’s Pavilion
Chenequa, Wisconsin
Vetter Denk Architects
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
True Inc.
Private Client
Inserted into a densely wooded landscape in Waukesha County, this striking building houses a private
fitness space and vintage automobile gallery. The “collector’s pavilion” slides into the topography, with
a folded roof plane that hovers over a board-formed concrete base. Attuned to privacy and security, the
building possesses dual personalities, featuring a secure private bunker from the exterior while
transforming into a warm inviting space in the interior. The use of indirect light as well as obscuring
direct views from the public right-of-way provides adequate day light while ensuring strict privacy. The
project’s shifting personality contrasts and merges with the environment depending on the season. The
building employs meticulous detailing that harmonizes with its natural surroundings through its
materiality, formal language and siting.
Jury Comment: "This is an incredibly striking project. It’s a beautiful building that sits in its landscape in
a compelling way. The concrete, wood and steel are the three materials that are consistently used
throughout in a very thoughtful design. The use of concrete is particularly admirable. The way the
polished floors, poured-in-place walls and how the module continues from the inside to the outside is
well done and creates a very strong relationship. To come across this structure in the landscape would
be a powerful moment."
2015 AIA Wisconsin Design Awards
Project Descriptions & Jury Comments
Merit Award
MIAD Two50Two Student Residences
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Engberg Anderson Architects
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Northtrack Construction
General Capital Group
This project is the newest residence hall for students attending the Milwaukee Institute of Art and
Design (MIAD). Located across the street from the main academic building and steps from the student
union, the mixed-use building offers housing for students and creates an identifiable MIAD District
within the historic Third Ward. The new building features five floors of housing above a ground-floor
retail space. The fully furnished two-bedroom suites each accommodate four students, with a living
room, kitchen and two bathrooms. Each floor also features student lounges, common study areas and
laundry rooms. Outside, a second-story urban courtyard features a wood-planked “dock” and a small
gathering area. The exterior of the building balances the rich industrial history of the urban area and the
playfulness of the school. A masonry facade is made up of a simple pattern of large windows and
exterior steel components to mirror the nearby historic bridges and warehouses and to add some color
in the form of bright vertical spandrels. The project enhances the community and provides an
opportunity for students to display their work inside and outside the building
Jury Comment: "What we appreciate about this project is that there is a rigor to the exterior envelope,
placement of windows and the organization of the facade. A nice interior element is the way that the
exposed ceiling exploits the concrete construction. The exposed ducts are clean and neatly done, which
allowed the architect to use more playful furniture. The public spaces also have a playful quality – the
elevated courtyard for the students is a nice idea. It looks like an urban site with a thoughtfully
considered design for a livable and interesting place for students.
2015 AIA Wisconsin Design Awards
Project Descriptions & Jury Comments
Merit Award
Nexus House
Madison, Wisconsin
Johnsen Schmaling Architects
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Yahara Builders, LLC
Private Client
This private family residence occupies a small lot in Madison’s historic University Heights
neighborhood. The home was designed as a respectful but unapologetically contemporary building
and discreetly placed in the back of the trapezoidal site to avoid direct visual competition with its two
dignified 19th century neighbors. The house is a simple volume composed of two building blocks – a
two-story brick podium partially embedded in the site’s existing slope and a linear cedar-clad
meander that wraps up and over the podium before transforming into a cantilever. The home’s
garage, support rooms and open living hall are located in the brick base, while its bedrooms, baths
and a small reading room are housed in the cedar volume. The main living hall, an open space for
cooking, eating and sitting, features a series of floor-to-ceiling windows that offer framed views into
the neighborhood. The exterior material palette is limited to brick and wood, two materials common
to the surrounding historic homes that together add a subtle muted nod to the bold colors of the
neighborhood’s Victorian homes.
Jury Comment: “As an extremely modern abstract house, there is something about the way the
architect broke down the scale with the materials in the facade that helps it to so beautifully fit into the
context of the neighborhood. The execution of this project is really precise. The architect paid a lot of
attention to the details of the simple plan and massing. There are powerful moments where you are
wrapped in the materials. For a modern single-family residence to fit into a historic neighborhood like
this, there are a lot of different design moves like the use of materials, hiding the garage and the setback
that all make it work really well."
2015 AIA Wisconsin Design Awards
Project Descriptions & Jury Comments
Merit Award
Pabst Professional Center
Milwaukee, WI
Rinka Chung Architecture Inc.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Riley Construction Company, Inc.
Blue Ribbon Management LLC
This new five-story building is located in “The Brewery” district of Milwaukee on a site that once was
home to the carriage and horse stables. A modern design, the building evokes an industrial quality
reminiscent of its historic surroundings. It features a two-story parking structure and three floors of
office space. The entry lobby, with double-height ceilings, opens to breakout business spaces and a
private conference room. Referencing the nearby cream city buildings and iconic grain silos to the north,
the project responds to its historic surroundings with simplicity and restraint while making a modern
architectural statement for the future. The building incorporates modern materials in glass and metal
panels, using masonry of dark brick cladding and warm wood tones. With floor-to-ceiling glass on its
prominent corner, the project acts as a welcoming beacon for the revitalized district. Since its
completion, the building project has helped to spur a renewed interest and sense of progress in
downtown Milwaukee.
Jury Comment: "This project is recognized for its interiors and, in particular, the materiality within the
interiors. With impressive restraint, the design not only emphasizes the materiality and quality of the
space, but also the connectivity to the city beyond. The simple use of wood for both the ceiling and
walls offers a really nice sensibility. It’s a good example of restraint in assembly and detailing, which
creates an overall effect of the space that works with the volume, works with the daylight, and works
with the views. It provides a nice balance."
2015 AIA Wisconsin Design Awards
Project Descriptions & Jury Comments
Merit Award
The Nest
Bayfield, Wisconsin
Bill Yudchitz, AIA, and Daniel Yudchitz, AIA
Stevens Point, Wisconsin
Revelations Architects/Builders
Bill Yudchitz, AIA
Sited on a hillside overlooking Lake Superior, this project is an experiment in contemporary elemental
shelter. Its geometric forms and functionality commune with the natural setting, showing deference in
a small footprint, use of utilitarian and economical construction materials, and ingenious versatility.
The wood framed box – a sheltered container for living – is clad in black metal that floats above the
landscape. When in use, two twelve-foot doors open to provide a protected porch entry and reveal a
two-story glass wall. A shower screen supports a sand-filtered water cistern for the outdoor shower.
The interior is organized into three vertical zones. The lower level is a multi-functional space that can be
reconfigured for different uses. A series of built-in furniture elements include folding wooden chairs
stored on wall hooks, a toilet and wash basin as well as a table and bed that fold out from the walls as
needed. A ladder along the wall leads up to a sleeping loft with windows to the north and south. A
second ladder allows access from the loft to a rooftop observation “nest.” Simple strategies, like lighting
provided by solar lanterns, keep the building "off the grid." A dry-flush toilet and water jug eliminate
the need for plumbing. The innovative shelter facilitates enjoying nature while respecting it.
Jury Comment: "When we talk about what architects have to offer the general public, it’s this incredibly
resourceful and efficient use of space. The architects did a lot with a little. This project is about how
much you can pack in to such a small footprint. The lightness of the footprint, from both a sustainability
stand point and how it touches the ground, implies a temporary insertion. It’s a smart design. You open
it up and everything inside is dual purpose. There is an appropriateness and consistency in the material
and detail choices. We applaud the idea – especially some of the furnishings and multipurpose design."