Waukesha County Expo Center

Waukesha Expo Center


Out with the Old

Built in 1972, the Waukesha County Exposition Center Arena complex features 21,000 SF of year-round heated and air-conditioned meeting and exhibit space. It includes a domed roof, stage, three meeting rooms, kitchen, two balconies, staff offices, and box office. The primary heating and cooling system were original to the building and at 48 years of service life, was in dire need of replacement. Strang partnered with Waukesha County to improve the Expo Center’s overall HVAC and mechanical systems, all of which contributed to increased efficiency and cost savings.

This project’s challenges can be summed up in one sentence—how can we cost-effectively update the mechanical systems of this old, round building? The Waukesha Expo Center is a taxpayer-funded, public entity, so it was crucial that we keep the budget on track. Any mechanical solutions had to be carefully managed and tracked.

The previous gas-fired equipment was not only inefficient but included parts that were verging on obsolete. Replacements were no longer available and needed to be custom fabricated—another facility cost. It is difficult to make an old system cost-effective, which meant Strang had to jump in from the beginning of the project to offer Good-Better-Best solutions that meet this challenge. Our team helped set a budget and was there to provide solutions to the surprises that inevitably arise when working with old systems.

The shape of the building itself also offered a unique obstacle. The Expo Center is a round building that required large gluelams (glued laminated timbers) for the structure of the concrete walls. This meant that the existing mechanical systems were kept in a pie-shaped room with gluelams running down at steep angles. It was up to the Strang team to find a system that would both fit into the space and meet the needs of Waukesha County. This called for a perfectly sized hot water boiler plant and pinpointing a custom air handling unit that would fit into the space just right.


Maximized Design

Ultimately, Strang replaced the existing heating and air conditioning equipment that served the main arena building with a new, automated, and energy efficient system. This included a new boiler plant, air handling units, and air-cooled condensing units. The budget, existing facility systems, and unique shape of the building were all kept at the forefront of the design while efficiency and temperature control were maximized.

Strang Offices

Strang Offices


LEED Gold Certification

Strang Madison Regional Office


WELL Gold Certification

Strang Madison Regional Office


American Society of Interior Design (ASID)

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

Strang Milwaukee Regional Office


International Interior Design Association (IIDA) WI Awards

Strang Waukesha Regional Office



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.


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.