the School of Human Ecology at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Sasaki designed
a multi-phase renovation and expansion for the School’s innovative learning
curriculum and research facilities. The design responds to a sensitive location
in the historic core of the campus, including the need to recreate a ‘legacy’
park and campus path through the site in order to achieve an accessible
pedestrian route on the existing hillside. The 90,000-square-foot addition to the school as well
as a 75,000-square-foot renovation of the historic building were preceded by a
complex demolition phase involving two existing buildings on the site,
complicated due to proximity to active sidewalks and service points.
The goals for the project were to consolidate various programs in a single
facility, enhance the school's presence on campus, and create a welcoming home
to students, faculty, and visitors alike. The project team faced a number of
challenges, including respecting the historic fabric of existing School of
Human Ecology and the immediate campus buildings and landscaping, creating
common spaces that would promote interaction between the school's various
communities and programs and promote broader campus engagement, updating the
school's facilities with technology-enhanced classrooms, teaching labs, and
collaboration spaces, and providing a welcoming and secure environment for
preschool children within a higher education environment.
The initial phase of the project included a planning and programming study
which established the ideas and vision for the physical expansion of the School
of Human Ecology. This programming and planning study culminated in a
comprehensive program document and a series of alternative site accommodation
strategies which reflected the cultural, historical, programmatic, and
architectural vision for the school, and provided the framework for a unified
physical home which would support and integrate academic planning initiatives.
In response to this planning framework and unique project goals, the design
team devised a number of solutions for the renovation and expansion to the
School of Human Ecology. The addition respects the architectural character of
the existing building in its massing, materials, and architectural details. A
new link, which connects the existing and new structures, provides a gracious
entrance to the school, and a space for display and interaction. Located off
the link, a design gallery engages the broader campus community. A café and a
series of intimate study areas promote interaction between the school's various
communities. New classrooms, studios, and flexible research spaces accommodate
the school's multidisciplinary programs. The new preschool wing, scaled for
children, also has an adjacent secure playground area for active play and
learning. A roof garden and pergola are sized to accommodate various sizes of
groups and community occasions. The landscape solution preserves building
setbacks, view corridors, and open green spaces in the heart of the historic
campus. A below-grade parking facility almost entirely removes adjacent surface
parking, preserving open space, and providing a secure environment for
preschool drop-off and pick-up.
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