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2019 Commercial Design Awards: You've got personality!

Winning commercial building designs reflect the personality of their tenants.

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American Family Insurance–The Spark

Most Innovative Green Solutions

Praised for its contribution to corporate social responsibility and sustainable investing, American Family Insurance’s newest home, The Spark building, is occupied by hundreds of employees, and they along with daily visitors are the main beneficiaries of the building’s many sustainable features.

The 158,000-square-foot Spark, also home to American Family Insurance’s DreamBank and StartingBlock Madison, celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit. Inside the building, employees look to solve real-world problems, and their working environment must be progressively sustainable. The Spark incorporates virtually every sustainable feature imaginable in pursuit of LEED certification and the incorporation of WELL building standards. “This new building stands as a landmark in Madison,” states one CDA judge.

Such facilities put both building and occupants at the heart of sustainable design. Here, the use of exterior glass forms a very modern look and allows in ample natural of light for employees, notes one judge. The interior design breaks down hierarchical structure and provides an atmosphere for a collaborative workforce, and each floor “brings new innovative design that presents a magnificent wow factor,” says another judge.

In addition, building systems use a variety of technologies to optimize air and water quality, and amenities such as indoor bike storage, showers, and locker rooms are available to tenants. “Not only did the design take into consideration green solution standards, it takes into account how the entire workplace affects the well-being of employees,” one judge remarked.

“Their intention was to design a space for inspiration as a catalyst for local businesses — a creative and collaborative working environment,” adds another judge. “At every turn, you see those things being facilitated by the design of the building and its interiors.”

Project credits

Location: 821 E. Washington Ave., Madison, WI 53703
Owner/Developer: American Family Insurance
General Contractor/Construction Firm: J.H. Findorff & Son Inc.
Architect/Interior Design Architect 1: Eppstein Uhen Architects
Interior Design Architect 2: Potter Lawson Inc.
Engineer: Affiliated Engineers Inc.
Photography: C&N Photography Inc., Bill Fritsch, and Mike Rebholz
Completion Date: August 2018

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