American Society of Interior Design (ASID)
Office/Corporate over 25,000 s.f. - Silver
Association of Licensed Architects (ALA)
International Interior Design Association (IIDA) WI Awards
Office over 25,000 s.f. First Place
Wisconsin Business Friend of the Environment Award
Public Space, Community Commitment
The Agora at Fitchburg Center is an 84,000 SF mixed-use development—located in the heart of Fitchburg Center—surrounded by more than 400 acres of prairie, forest, and wetlands. The 84,000 square foot project is comprised of three buildings linked by skyways and includes an underground parking facility. The building houses administrative offices for a biopharmaceutical company, with retail spaces on the first floor of the two flanking buildings.
The overall goal of this project was to create a building that resonates with its surrounding nature and easily adapts to the passage of time. This project served as a commitment to enhancing the quality of the public realm, doing good for the community, and giving spaces and facilities over to the public.
This project served to create an entire series of spaces—courtyards, amphitheaters, terraces—that come together to enhance human interaction within the prairie. As a public space, The Agora hosts events like a weekly farmer’s market, concerts, and parking which are predominantly located underground. This helps free up the design to truly relate to the landscape. A multi-use “piazza” functions both as a parking area as well as an outdoor gathering space.
The restored prairie is the true centerpiece of the entire project conceived as the “Town Green” for the City of Fitchburg. The Prairie Swale winds through the middle of the entire Agora development, integrating the surrounding nature into people’s experience.
The uniqueness of the site created a project with two fronts: an urban, retail front with a gallery on East Cheryl Parkway and an organic front on the prairie that takes advantage of the natural landscape. The three buildings—long in the east-west direction to maximize the benefits of solar orientation—are staggered with respect to one another and connected by stone arched bridges to create framed views of the landscape.
Classic materials including clay-tile roofs, cedar siding, expansive windows, copper elements, and extensive stone masonry were used to construct the buildings. Interior finishes were contained within a simple, natural pallet of materials and colors. Natural finish figured maple and walnut, stone, tile, glass, and just two shades of off-white paint were used to form the backdrop to the owner’s eclectic collection of furnishings and artwork. Careful attention to detail and material transitions transformed these very simple materials into extraordinary design elements.
The Town Green
With this project’s emphasis on nature and the surrounding landscape, sustainability was a key element of Strang’s design. Green building applications used in this project include: