InBusiness Commercial Design Awards
The Product Life Cycle
“Life is about the journey, not the destination” is a guiding principle for Wisconsin’s technical college system, whose facilities clearly bear witness to this concept. The Ingenuity Center at Madison College is a state-of-the-art, $20.5 million, 62,000 SF advanced manufacturing training facility that focuses on hands-on experiences, and helps shape passionate, agile, and driven students by concentrating specifically on their educational journey. This facility was designed to showcase the product life cycle from start to finish. It begins with idea generation, research & design, the circulation through the facility progresses through rapid prototyping, material testing, CNC manufacturing, packaging, and warehousing.
Science on Display
In order to provide a window into the journey of a product at every stage, classrooms are located directly across from the corresponding section of the manufacturing facility, facilitating enhanced, hands-on, active learning. Glazed breakout areas and borrowed lights provide views into the hands-on active learning areas, showcasing the “Science on Display.”
Dozens of studies of both learning and manufacturing spaces have revealed that both workers and students are happier, more productive, and more fulfilled in spaces with ample daylighting—for this reason, the design team employed both skylights and clerestory windows to provide copious daylighting throughout the manufacturing spaces.
Because Madison College must constantly innovate in order to prepare students not only for the jobs of today, but also (and more importantly) the jobs of the future, special care was taken to design the manufacturing space to be flexible and easy to modify. High bay spaces facilitate endless relocation and reconfiguration of equipment within the manufacturing space. Flexible overhead utility connections throughout the entire manufacturing floor allow work to take place anywhere.
By featuring state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities prominently at the gateway to the college, Madison College is able to attract driven individuals and transform them from students into passionate and industrious members of society who will have a lasting positive impact on their communities.
These facilities also help the college attract skilled faculty members and build fruitful relationships with employers in the area. These relationships become a feedback loop allowing the faculty to quickly respond by updating educational processes, ultimately building a direct jobs pipeline to serve the needs of the community. In doing so, the Ingenuity Center reflects Madison College’s core values—developing community partnerships, supporting student success in a rapidly changing world, and being bold, drive, agile, and passionate. This facility ultimately contributes to the college’s mission to enrich lives and strengthen our communities.