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2019 Commercial Design Awards: You've got personality!

Winning commercial building designs reflect the personality of their tenants.

(page 8 of 12)

Marquette University–The Commons

Best New Development or Renovation–Education

Marquette University’s first new residence hall built on campus in 50 years, The Commons provides a welcoming and comfortable home away from home for Marquette’s first- and second-year students.

Completed in time for the 2018-19 school year, the 292,000-square-foot, nine- and 12-story structure is a conjoined co-ed residence hall that replaced an antiquated hall. It consists of two residence hall towers made up of single and double rooms that connect to create a neighborhood feel, and it’s also joined by a 650-seat dining and community space. With coveted modern amenities and sustainable building features, it has become a hub of activity for students, faculty, and staff.

CDA judges noted the building is not just a place where students sleep at night. It’s also a place where they can interact and learn together, and there are spaces for private contemplation, small-group studying, and a large dining experience. One CDA judge opined that it’s the type of building that can catapult Marquette to the next level as a university. “This is a very bold, ambitious project,” he notes. “It’s rare that one building can transform the identity of an entire university, but this is the kind of building that likely will be able to do so.

Architecturally, the building is cohesive without being monolithic, and judges liked the way architects addressed the urban context of this downtown Milwaukee location. They moved buildings toward the street front, creating much more urban environment for that streetscape. They also created a private courtyard in the middle, which is more attuned to the private lives of students. “The thing that’s strong about this project is the site strategy of integrating the building with the landscape, which sort of knits the residence halls together,” notes another judge. “It’s a really smart strategy.”

Project credits

Location: 721 N. 17th St., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53233
Owner/Developer: Marquette University
General Contractor/Construction Firm: J.H. Findorff & Son Inc.
Architects: Design Collective and Workshop Architects
Engineers: GRAEF, Staff Electric
Photography: Richard Ebbers (interior/exterior), Curtis Waltz (aerial)
Completion Date: August 2018


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