USDA Forest Products Laboratory

USDA Forest Products Laboratory

OBJECTIVE:

On-Call Service

Strang’s history with USDA Forest Products Lab extends back to 1967 to the design of a wood chemistry laboratory and has continued throughout each decade with an entrance remodeling, a condition survey of buildings 39 and 40, a boiler replacement, a five-year IDIQ contract from 2011-2016, and a current, on-going IDIQ. Our projects have included dozens of renovations, analysis, evaluations, designs, campus planning and system replacements.

Projects Completed:

SOLUTION:

Building 34 & 50

Lab renovations in Building 34 included replacement of all wood casework, epoxy tops, and fume hoods. Electrical raceway was salvaged, re-painted, and re-installed to support the new users. Utility upgrades include converting the exhaust system to VAV and waste and vent piping that had deteriorated from heavy acid use. Upgrade finishes were provided throughout. Strang designed for the replacement of failing direct buried steam and condensate piping from the campus steam system to Forest Products Labs Building 50. The new design included proper expansion compensation within a new buried concrete steam box conduit.

Steam Pit

Strang also provided engineering design and documentation for a steam replacement project. This project was done in collaborations with the Department of Facilities Development and Management for the State of Wisconsin. One of the buildings on the Forest Products Laboratory’s site is served from a steam pit tied to the UW-Madison Walnut Street heating plant. The existing 180 PSI steam and pumped condensate return from the steam pit was originally routed underground and direct buried to the building.

Over the course of 10 years, the pumped condensate piping developed a leak from inappropriate piping, insulation, and thermal expansion compensation. As steam condensate leaked underground, it further degraded the steam piping and insulation. The project included evaluation of piping, insulation, and structure of the steam pit, and installation of new concrete box conduit.

HVAC System

An additional project of special note is Strang’s work with Johnson Controls to convert the existing HVAC system of FPL’s Building 33 and 34 to use variable volume supply and exhaust. Strang provided complete load calculations, VAV selections, exhaust fan re-work, and control sequences as part of a performance contract through Johnson Controls, Inc.

Over the course of 10 years, the pumped condensate piping developed a leak from inappropriate piping, insulation, and thermal expansion compensation. As steam condensate leaked underground, it further degraded the steam piping and insulation. The project included evaluation of piping, insulation, and structure of the steam pit, and installation of new concrete box conduit.

Dane County Job Center Solar Arrays

Dane County Job Center Solar Arrays

OBJECTIVE:

The Power of the Sun

The scope of the project was to incorporate a renewable energy generation system in the form of a solar PV array to offset the energy consumed at the Dane County Job Center, thereby taking responsibility for energy used in service to the County operations. A study was prepared at the New Holland Pavilions and Job Center, and given the year-round activities at the Job Center, resources were devoted to this site study.

SOLUTION:

Economic Energy Use

Strang is intimately familiar with this facility. We have completed a top to bottom building condition report followed by an extensive renovation of all mechanical and electrical systems, ceilings, and lighting in the areas related to this facility. We have also replaced the roofing and designed the solar array covering most of the roof surface. Strang’s advanced energy modeling capabilities led to informed decisions throughout the entire design process.

This site was first evaluated for energy consumption, and the rooftop was evaluated for support of an array that would work alongside the existing electrical infrastructure. Based on the options offered, a solar array of 170kW would yield the most favorable solution. Our design team targeted 226,000 kWh per year of potential energy savings. In dollars, this translates to $25,000 per year. This represents significant savings to the county. Across a useful life of 20 years, this equates to $500,000. With a project cost of $500,000, the project cost is a wash.

In terms of sustainability, this project took responsibility for on-site energy use by on-site generation using the mighty power of the sun. Fossil fuel consumption was displaced with light as a non-polluting power source. The project is also nestled in a residential neighborhood and by locating the array on the roof of an existing structure, the project had no impact on the neighborhood’s aesthetics, noise, and carbon pollution.

New Holland Pavilions at Alliant Energy Center

New Holland Pavilions at Alliant Energy Center

Awards

InBusiness Commercial Design Awards

2015

OBJECTIVE:

Dairy & Livestock Showcase

For over 100 years, the Alliant Energy Center Campus has served as a hub of activity for the farming and ranching community, ultimately growing to support world-class livestock and equine events. This multi-use facility was designed to replace the site’s former 12 aging agricultural barns.

The largest challenge was to design two state-of-the-art multi-purpose pavilions totaling over 290,000 SF which could be constructed in 5 months to avoid interrupting the campus’ two largest annual events, the Midwest Horse Fair in April, and the World Dairy Expo in September. Eleven existing stand-alone buildings needed to be demolished and site remediation needed to occur within this same timeframe.

“Strang, Inc. has been a presence for over 25 years on the Alliant Energy Center Campus...because of the excellent design team and project approach that was presented. It is evident to me...that you have incorporated all of the state-of-the-art technology to assist in the design process and communicate with your clients.”

Eric Urtes, Executive Vice President, Corporate Service, M3 Insurance Solutions Inc.

SOLUTION:

Prefabricated Configuration

The New Holland Pavilions are widely recognized as the most advanced multi-purpose pavilions in the country providing world-class 290,000 SF space for a wide range of national livestock, equine, and athletic events.

To meet schedule needs, a modular approach to constructing the pavilions was employed. Demolition and site remediation work began first, working from the west end of the site to the east end. New construction immediately followed working from west to east just behind the demolition. The construction was completed on time and both the Midwest Horse Fair and World Dairy Expo events occurred without interruption and on schedule.

Pavilion 1 is a 90,000 SF building that includes nearly 8,000 SF of pre-function space. The remaining 80,000 SF provides ample space for livestock stalls, wash bays, and restrooms with showers. Pavilion 2 measures 200,000-SF, allowing additional space for livestock stalls, restrooms, and the 20×12 walk-through BouMatic Milking parlor. The new milking parlor includes two 2000-gallon milk tanks, a new energy-efficient chiller system, touch point and SmartControl meters for cow side management, and evolution pulsators.

The Pavilions also feature a state-of-the-art innovative pressurized ventilation system that draws clean fresh air from the building and distributes it evenly and with consistent velocity over the entire floor. Air is exhausted through overhead door openings and side wall vents providing year-round comfort. The result is improved air quality and comfort control applied to livestock and staff.

The building envelope and structural system were developed for economy and speed of construction, utilizing prefabricated and modular techniques, but not at the expense of aesthetics. The large scale of the pavilions allowed for custom prefabricated configurations creating unique and attractive forms at a very reasonable cost.

Unique project features include:

WiscNet

WiscNet offices

OBJECTIVE:

Collective Collaboration

WiscNet is an organization that provides research and education networking services to public and private higher education, K-12 school districts, libraries, municipalities, and hospitals throughout Wisconsin.

WiscNet was looking to expand its workplace and showcase its strong brand identity. The goal was to have a collaborative and cooperative office that would connect its 25-member staff and organizational members. They desired a fresh, contemporary space that would create opportunities for the community to grow ideas and share strategies while maintaining a feel that was uniquely theirs.

SOLUTION:

Community Within

WiscNet underwent a master planning effort to determine the best fit for their new workplace. The result of that study placed them at the University Research Park in Madison within a 10,000 SF tenant suite. They chose this location for its proximity to bike paths, programmable outdoor space, and the opportunity for future growth.

The design goal was to create a fresh, contemporary, work environment that would also engage people socially. The completed design includes neutral finishes with branded pops of color that help create a vibrant workplace. Structured and spontaneous collaboration is integrated into the office plan through a mix of zones that provide employees with choices: private meeting spaces, open collaborative areas, one-person enclaves, and a work café outfitted with relevant technology. The Strategic Technology Lab provides another zone for heads-down development of both software and hardware, creating an efficient workstation in the open work area.

The floor plan optimizes natural daylight, with a 20’ living wall in the main entry offering a unique indoor/outdoor connection. The interior space was planned on a 45-degree angle to maximize daylight penetration and provide exterior views from the open office. To bring natural daylight into the core of the building, 13 skylights were strategically placed throughout the space and the 14-foot ceiling was left exposed and painted bright white. In addition to the skylights, three Solatubes provide natural light to the 20-foot living wall in the lobby and reception area. Frameless glass systems were used on the face of private offices and meeting spaces to allow further access to light and to enforce the open office aesthetic.

Strang designers worked closely with WiscNet leadership to create a fresh, contemporary, social working environment. This space re-centered focus on the organization’s mission and values. WiscNet features a “Community Within” approach that focuses on flexible, personal, user group, and virtual interaction (i.e., real-time web, voice, and video functionality). We created a branded office environment that supports each of these types of work now and well into the future.

 

Venture Investors Office

Venture Investors Office

Awards

International Interior Design Association (IIDA) WI Awards

Office under 9,999 SF Award of Excellence

2021

OBJECTIVE:

First Impressions

Venture Investors is a Madison-based venture capital firm that works closely with some of the nation’s leading researchers and clinicians. Strang partnered with them to create a new 1,435 SF office space that provides a subtle, yet impactful first impression.

Venture Investors’ goal was to “wow” investors, clients, and other users of the space. Additionally, the office desired a professional, modern, and clean working environment. With Strang’s help, the existing tenant space was reworked and refreshed to include tasteful and deliberate design details that leave a lasting impact.

SOLUTION:

Small Space, Large Impact

Strang’s main project challenge was working within the parameters of a small space. Feature elements in the space had to purposefully serve as both visually impactful and functional—every detail needed to count.

A primary example of the interplay between form and function was the L-shaped form that wraps from the office walls to above the reception desk. While offering an aesthetic visual, it also serves functionally as the doorways into the offices. This required our design team to custom design both the doors and door frames so that they appeared to be a seamless part of the L-shape. We continued this feature throughout the office creating a visual rhythm as you move deeper into the space.

Design Dialogue

Another key objective for this space was creating a dialogue between each separate design element. Offices traditionally aren’t visible from the main building corridor, but this office suite offers an extended view into the space from the corridor. The relationship from the corridor to the suite is parallel to the wooden door feature, complimenting the desk to the door, and the outside to the inside. The wooden L-shaped ceiling feature runs in a continuous line to the custom doors, further drawing visitors into the office.

The front entry desk design mirrors the ceiling waterfall effect, forging a strong dialogue between the desk down low and the large feature above. Like the doors, a desk is a necessary element to any office reception desk, but with our purposeful design, it blends seamlessly into its environment while adding a dramatic effect.

Down to the Details

At 1,435 SF, this office packs quite the punch into every square foot. Maximizing the space while keeping the design clean, modern, and open, meant every detail was designed to make an impact on users. The rhythm and flow of the user’s experience and visuals were considered before they even step into the space. Often the simplest forms can be deceiving—but like this project, it takes a clear design point of view and understanding of the space to achieve both function and beauty within simplicity.

Strang Offices

Strang Offices

Awards

LEED Gold Certification

Strang Madison Regional Office

2020

WELL Gold Certification

Strang Madison Regional Office

2020

American Society of Interior Design (ASID)

Bronze Design Excellence Award for Contract – Office/Corporate 9,999 SF and under

Strang Milwaukee Regional Office

2019

International Interior Design Association (IIDA) WI Awards

Strang Waukesha Regional Office

2018

OBJECTIVE:

A Culture of Collaboration

When we got the chance to design our own space, it was the perfect opportunity to bring Strang’s own culture to life within our future offices. At Strang, providing a comfortable, safe, and efficient work environment for our staff is of the highest priority. Our offices were designed to encourage safe collaboration, promote teamwork, and enhance professional growth. Our Madison office is located on the second floor of the Gebhardt Building.

Our company mission and culture are an invaluable part of our ethos. We are proud to be able to showcase these values through the very environment we work in.

SOLUTION:

Working WELL in Madison

Strang’s office was designed to optimize versatility and flexibility with the ability to accommodate client/internal meetings, VR demonstrations, and BIM technology sessions. With the various break-out areas, meetings have the option to be formal or informal, engaging people in a social working environment where spontaneous meetings occur routinely.

Branded elements were captured throughout Strang’s office spaces with a nod toward our company’s heritage. For example, a custom digital wall covering was designed to showcase past archival projects. This wall showcases the firm’s history while simultaneously acknowledging a future vision.

Employee well-being and comfort were key considerations, and our space was designed with WELL Building standards in mind. We are proud to say that our office has been awarded the first WELL Gold Certification in Wisconsin. This prestigious distinction was awarded through the International WELL Building Institute’s WELL Building Standard™, a performance-based certification system for measuring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing.

Strang’s Madison office earned this recognition based on seven categories of building performance— Air, Water, Light, Nourishment, Fitness, Comfort, and Mind. With expansive glass windows across the suite, each employee has a view of the natural surroundings. Ergonomics also come into play with sit and stand desks. It is a great honor to be recognized for our efforts within our own Madison offices and to demonstrate how Strang provides thoughtful design centered around employee health and wellness.

Waukesha Growth

When designing Strang’s first regional office, our objective was to create a space that reflected our history, values, and sense of community. A major part of the design influence focused on the material finishes we use with clients every day: metal, wood, concrete, and glass. Our team strived to keep costs in line and accommodate the ever-changing needs of a growing staff. To maximize versatility, permanent walls were limited to encourage collaboration throughout the space. Our designers also identified furnishings that were easy to reconfigure and adaptable.

With the open concept, there is almost an unlimited number of configurations for the staff to work with. The engaging entry sequence leads directly into the workspace, eliminating the need for a formal reception area. Intuitive wayfinding directs visitors to the open spaces and eventually leads them into the kitchen, workroom, and conference room. Areas are defined by differing finish materials, floor patterns, and ceiling grid layout. Each workstation is equipped with a 6’ x 6’ full height-adjustable surface, also featuring adjustable height-screens, ergonomic chairs, white boards, and pin-up space.

Branded elements were captured throughout the Waukesha space with details like a custom digital wall covering of Strang archival blueprints. This parallels similar design elements in the Madison office. The blueprint wall also reiterates the foundational design concepts of the AEI industry and showcases projects that were the building blocks for our firm.

Hamel Music Center

Hamel music center
This project was designed in partnership with Steinberg Hart

Awards

AIA Wisconsin Award of Merit

2022

PCI Design Awards

Best Theater Building

2022

PCI Design Awards

Theaters Honorable Mention

2021

LEED Certification

2020

ACEC National Honor Award

2020

Engineering-News-Record Midwest’s Best Cultural Project

2020

Objective:

Multifunctional and Flexible

The 63,300-SF Hamel Music Center on the UW-Madison campus was created to serve as an anchor of the East Campus Arts Gateway and as a showcase for the Mead-Witter School of Music. The Mead-Witter School of Music is ranked in the top 5 percent of public schools of music in the U.S. and has earned international stature. By engaging the public through over 350 performances and events each year—from symphony and chamber orchestras to soloists and choral performers—it’s true that (after sports) the music program serves as the main public face for the university.

“I’ve been nothing but pleased with Strang’s meticulous attention to the details and mission of our complicated performing arts project.”

Susan C. Cook, Director, UW-Madison Mead Witter School of Music

SOLUTION:

Frozen in Time

The venue, created by Strang in conjunction with Holzman Moss Bottino, includes a 315-seat recital hall, large rehearsal room, and spacious lobby. Designed to spotlight the breadth, power, and purpose of musical exploration, this new facility elevates the program to the highest levels of collegiate music education.

As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, “Architecture is frozen music.” The folded, faceted forms of the precast panels evoke the imagery of flowing stage curtains frozen in time. In fact, one of the major themes of the building, is objects frozen in time. The interior scheme is inspired by Wisconsin’s landscapes: deep blues reflect our lakes while plum, gold, and maroon are the colors of our state tree, the sugar maple, in various stages of transformation. The Hamel Music Center is designed to evoke the musical experience as one experiences architecture through time. The exterior curtain wall façade of the main entrance invites the public to “enter the sheet music”.

Acoustic Concerns

The scheme for the building required unique approaches to acoustical challenges. Rather than burying the performance venue in the core of the building, the Collins recital hall was placed prominently right at the busy intersection. Fully isolated double wall construction, which incorporates the iconic folded precast concrete panels, accommodates this placement with total acoustic isolation.

The main concert hall also features a unique approach to acoustics, although in a more subtle way. Flanking the hall, acoustical reverberation chambers allow the venue to sound much larger than its physical volume would suggest. These chambers, four stories tall made of solid concrete, also contain acoustical curtains, which allow them to be uniquely tuned. The space is totally customizable based on the particular needs of each performance. These reverberation chambers, while not directly visible from within the performance space, are represented by large circular penetrations in the shell of the side walls. These forms are representative of the sound holes that allow reverberation and projection of sound in many string instruments, like a guitar.

Hamel Music Center Interior

A Shift in Convention

Lastly, opposite from the recital hall, in full view of University Avenue, the main rehearsal space is prominently featured as an iconic element of the building. Featuring the rehearsal space so publicly is unconventional; generally, artists are only showcased during performances, while their preparation remains unseen. Here, the preparation is on full display, framed perfectly for view by the isolated double-curtain-wall construction at the sidewalk level for any passerby’s to see.

M3 Insurance

M3 Building
M3 headquarters

Objective:

Invest in Impact

M3 Insurance is a growing insurance service company with a long history of community outreach and employee satisfaction. M3 wanted its new headquarters to be highly visible, serve the broader community, and facilitate positive change for employees. Strang worked with both the developer and M3 to design an exterior to this facility that maximizes the developer’s investment while striving to meeting M3’s cultural vision.

M3’s corporate priority was to move their headquarters to a location that would have a positive neighborhood impact. It was essential that the building be easily accessible to users. The selected John Nolen Drive location offers a highly visible attention-grabbing design on a major gateway for Madison traffic. Even though the soil could not support a conventional foundation (thus adding to the project cost), M3 was determined to build where visibility would have a maximum impact.

“We initially had three objectives for our new space: providing a well workplace, shifting from “me” space to “we” space, and space as a reinforcement of our brand. This space has met all those objectives and more. Our employees are so proud of this space...The amenities and the flexibility of the space have exceeded our expectations. And the Madison space has been a foundational element of M3’s physical brand since we built this building.”

Thomas J. Golden, Executive Vice President,
Corporate Service, M3 Insurance Solutions, Inc.

SOLUTION:

Solid Site Design

This project’s site design is in response to its unique location. Strang took care to enhance views of and from the project in its context on Lake Monona. The tree-lined entrance drive is on axis with the building’s visitor entrance, creating a strong relationship to the public. Decorative 12’ light fixtures reinforce the rhythm of the trees, while providing light to the entrance driveway and pedestrian walkway. An outdoor patio with two grills and a fire pit, immediately adjacent to the “Work Café” provide an informal and relaxing space for occupants to gather.

This highly visible location at one of the most traveled entry drives to downtown Madison originally looked bare and unfinished. The site was overrun with weeds and had become a dumping area for garbage and construction fill. The M3 development cleaned up this site, extended clear views to Lake Monona, and provided new vigor and uses along the bicycle path that surrounds the lake. The facility’s state-of-the-art conference and training suite has also become a valuable asset to the Madison community. Many local non-profit agencies use it for special events.

 

Flexible Reuse and Function

To maximize the developer’s real estate investment, the building was designed with flexibility in mind for future uses. The facility is designed as a multi-tenant building, with core areas for restrooms and vertical circulation, corridor zones, and MEP systems that support multiple tenants. Each floor plate is carefully designed to accommodate a variety of options of leasable tenant suite configurations.

M3 regularly brings clients to the facility for training and special programs. M3 therefore wanted to build a conference and training suite that could be shared with local agencies that need room to host special meetings. By designing flexible meeting spaces with access to the main entry, sweeping lake views, catering setup and toilet facilities, the building can serve a broader function, even after business hours.

M3 headquarters at night