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2015 Commercial Design Awards

(page 6 of 7)

Zebradog — Garden Level

Best Office Renovation

“I think it’s a celebration of creativity.” That summation from one CDA judge pretty much echoed the way most of our judges felt about the visually impactful Zebradog — Garden Level, an 1,150-square-foot adaptive redesign and reuse of a 100-year-old Madison landmark, the former Carnegie Library.

The project, which transformed the space into a design studio/office, preserved history in several ways, especially with regard to the building’s place in the fabric of the city’s Wil-Mar Neighborhood. The end result also highlights the “bones” of the original structure, including load-bearing masonry, yellow pine framing, and the building’s original “movable” partition.

In some ways, Zebradog faced the same challenge as Mead & Hunt — designing the space that would become the company’s own office and making a real statement about its organizational mission. Designers responded by producing an open office environment to optimize the building’s original windows and the daylighting they provide. To foster creativity, they created the “Dog House,” a freestanding, mini-conference space that’s clad in board printed with the firm’s design work.

“I think this is a great project,” stated one judge. “I think for creative office space, it’s energetic, it has rooms and materials for people to brainstorm, and you can’t not be creative in this kind of atmosphere.”

Another judge noted a striking material palette, but that wasn’t all. “They do a phenomenal job of creating a sense of place in every small and large aspect of the project. They don’t cover up the bones of the building. You see the roof joist and how the building was made, but as often happens when you insert new material and new building systems, overall it looks to be a rich place to work and create ideas.

“The importance of history alongside the exuberance of new ideas, that balance is particularly attractive to me.”

The same judge said the project is a great example of the best design also being the best sustainable design. “When you use recycled materials, you appropriate the rich history of the recycled material,” he noted.

Sustainability also came into play in other ways, as designers introduced reclaimed planking of the original structure to feature as a ceiling element. One judge praised the impact of the recycled material. “It’s really an engaging, uplifting space.”

Another judge called the project an innovative example of space reuse that should inspire Zebradog employees. “It’s fun, it’s creative, and it definitely embraced collaboration, and it’s one of those spaces you visit and I’m pretty sure you’re not going to forget.”

Yet another judge used terms like funky, warm, and rich. “There is a ton of character in this space.”

Project Credits

Location: 1249 Williamson St., Madison, WI 53703
Owner/Developer: ZD Studios, dba Zebradog
General Contractor: Supreme Structures
Architect: Shulfer Architects
Interior Design Architect/Consultant: Linda Baxter Page (Zebradog)
Photography: Mark Schmitz (Zebradog)
Completion Date: November 2014


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