This Madison landmark, adjacent to the Wisconsin State Capitol, was designed in the 1970s by Bruce Graham of SOM. When our client acquired the building in 2008, it was in need of significant renovations to cut its energy costs and to meet contemporary Class A office standards. As originally constructed, the 9-story building had several “winter gardens” facing the Capitol square. These were removed and replaced with leasable space topped by rooftop terraces. A wing of the building facing Webster street was expanded to produce a more efficient footprint. Extensive mechanical upgrades, new elevators and renovated lobby make the building better suited to multi-tenant occupancy.
The renovated lobby provided the opportunity for two ground-level restaurants, L’Etoile and Graze. The interior designs of both are inspired by local agricultural elements. At L’Etoile the design makes more subtle, elegant allusions to agrarian aesthetics through an earthy color palette and use of natural materials such as clear finished hickory wood and slate flooring. The strongest visual connection to the farm is L’Etoile’s bar facing which is constructed of salvaged clay tiles from a local farmer’s abandoned silo. Graze’s design is more elemental, employing simple materials, bold utilitarian forms and saturated colors. The modern take on agricultural elements is humble and honest – barnwood siding, cast concrete bar top and iron-pipe doorpulls and footrails.
With two new ground-floor restaurants opening out and adding activity on the sidewalk, a larger, more welcoming main entrance and new landscaped roof terraces, US Bank Plaza has made a dramatic re-emergence as a good citizen in the downtown Madison urban landscape. The overall result of the renovations was a 38% reduction in average monthly electricity consumption and an 85% drop in annual water usage.
Photography © Mike Rebholz