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National Guardian Life Headquarters

Project Information


National Guardian Life


Madison, WI


41,749 SF


Commercial & Mixed-Use


Architecture, Engineering, Interior Design, Audio/Visual, Sustainable Design, Environmental Branding, Low Voltage/Security, Controls, Construction Administration, Master Planning, Well Building Standard, LEED, Building Condition Assessments



President | Chief Executive Officer

AIA, NCARB, NCIDQ, WI Real Estate Broker

Executive Vice President | Director of Architecture


Executive Vice President | Director of Interior Design

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Reimagining the Workplace

Strang’s recent partnership with National Guardian Life Insurance (NGL), encapsulates our forward-thinking design approach. Recognizing early on that a post-COVID workplace would look very different from their current workplace, NGL began working with Strang to start reimagining their workplace.

NGL sought to create a workplace that would foster collaboration and connection for both clients and team members. The goal was to expand work options and offer a balance between in-office and off-site connectivity, mobility, and collaboration. This resulted in a master plan that offered an optimized and flexible work environment that is accommodating of current operations while remaining laser-focused on the future.


Priority Planning

Before designing a space, the first step is to listen to its users. Strang started our work on this project with an extensive review process including the creation of a Departmental & Priorities Survey for all employees. The primary central theme that was extracted was flexibility. NGL staff were enjoying the freedom of working from home and wanted to maintain a certain level of flexibility after the pandemic to continue working from home a few days a week.

Next, we focused on benchmarking, assessment, and analysis of both future space needs and the existing facilities. Facility assessments were conducted that resulted in recommendations for overall accessibility, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, and life safety needs. Departmental spatial needs and headcount projections were used to calculate optimized required floor area projections and address facility space inefficiencies. Facility assessments and space analysis helped define an environment for NGL that would remain comfortable, accessible, and safe for all employees.

The final master plan considered the feedback of both employees and departmental stakeholders. The resulting aesthetic of the building was a professional modern design with clean and simple details. Spaces were well-defined; often using ceiling elements as visual separation cues. Color tones and finishes were warm in nature. Our initial, careful observations led to the design of increased collaboration spaces and an optimized floor plan. With NGL’s collaborative spirit and Strang’s forward-focused approach, this project was representative of the future standard of workplace design.

Natural Design

The project utilized high-performance, desiccant dehumidification and steam humidification systems for critical environmental controls. Premium efficiency, air-cooled chillers allowed for high performance lab cooling. Air-side energy recovery was applied where code-required and expanded where appropriate. The project evaluated the cost/benefit of variable volume fume exhaust systems and ductless fume hoods, with a final determination that VAV fume exhaust would result in favorable financial payback and energy savings, along with certain favorable applications for ductless systems. Additionally, air-side economizers were designed for spaces with significant cooling demands throughout the year.