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Two EUA Projects Win Awards at 2016 Commercial Design Awards

WTS Paradigm
Best Renovation – Office

With a design that celebrates the creative process, WTS Paradigm might not be setting a new paradigm with a creative office renovation, but it’s reinforcing one that’s centered on employee retention, recruitment, collaboration, and fulfillment.

A tenant in Middleton’s Esser Place, the company’s project vision was to stimulate a high-performing business culture that encourages individuality and promotes collaboration. WTS Paradigm was originally drawn to the building’s high ceilings but management also wanted to create a place where staffers are more accessible to one another and had the freedom to “find comfort” in a flexible, highly personalized space.

One judge praised the design as consistent with a revolution underway in the office culture — away from cubicles. “They actually do have the standard cubicle but they have swept that aside and they are looking at places where people can work in flexible ways. Although there might be cubicles here and there, you’re not imprisoned by that.”

One of the most sustainable things you can do is reuse existing buildings and materials, and since WTS serves clients in the building materials industry, the project used raw materials like wood trusses, exposed steel studs, corrugated plastics, and even a garage door. CEO Nathan Herbst challenged the design team to use simple, everyday materials to create stimulating visual effects.

“This became a showroom of their own materials, and they were very creative,” notes one judge. “It’s in raw form but there is a lot of finesse to the design.”

Overhead lighting is minimized, task lighting is emphasized, and perimeter accent lighting and filament lamps create visual interest by highlighting textures and colors. The varied lighting produces a more charming, theatrical feel. “It was kind of a rough warehouse aesthetic if you look at the before pictures, and what an incredible change!” exclaims a second judge.

Project Credits

  • Location: 1850 Deming Way, Suite 120, Middleton, WI 53562
  • Owner/Developer: WTS Paradigm
  • General Contractor: Ideal Builders
  • Architect/Interior Design: Eppstein Uhen Architects
  • Consultant: Creative Lighting Design + Engineering LLC
  • Photography: C&N Photography
  • Completion Date: January 2015




Ovation 309
Best New Development or Renovation – Mixed Use

Increasing numbers of young professionals and retirees are flocking to downtown Madison, and one of the vibrant places they are flocking to is Ovation 309, which received an ovation of sorts from our CDA judges.

The massive 480,000-square-foot, mixed-use structure, all 14 stories of it, is not only home to 248 residential units and the Madison Fire Department’s administrative operations, but to a seventh floor dog walk area and two rooftop terraces with outdoor fireplaces and Capitol and lake views. The top floor can be turned into club space for events, private parties, and the entertainment of residents.

“It is very sophisticated and it has a real hospitality theme, kind of like an upper-end hotel,” says one judge.

The judge noted how touches like awnings help break down “that huge mask,” making it appear a bit more intimate, and liked how different-sized towers provide better views for residents. “It’s a large program and developers had to deal with a lot of different elements. It was really multifunction and that was reflected in the masking of the building.”

Judges also praised green space like the dog-walk area and the way landscaping was integrated in a dense urban building. “It’s a huge development but it doesn’t seem that way,” notes one judge. “From the street, it looks like separate buildings, and they activate the street really well with retail.”

Another judge liked the way building colors and lighting seems to transition from day into night, a contrast that provides “a little something extra.”

A third judge approved of the roof deck, the public spaces, and the way designers incorporated Madison Fire Department offices on the second floor. “Twenty-five years ago, if the Madison Fire Department would’ve put a new administrative building in downtown Madison, you probably would not have engaged the streetscape. They’re doing that here, as they’re actually able to put in a tap house [Mr. Brews] at ground level.”

Project Credits

  • Location: 309 W. Johnson St., Madison, WI 53703
  • Owner/Developer: Hovde Properties
  • General Contractor: J.H. Findorff & Son Inc.
  • Architect/Interior Design: Eppstein Uhen Architects
  • Engineers: Pierce Engineering (structural), JDR Engineering (MEP engineers)
  • Photography: Loren Zemlicka Photography (exterior photos), ADX Creative (interior photos), C&N Photography
  • Completion Date: June 2015


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Two EUA Projects Win Awards at 2016 Commercial Design Awards Slide Image