Best of both worlds
Published: November 1, 2009
By Janine Anderson
Wauwatosa-based AG Architecture Inc. does not make its clients choose between panache and practicality.
The architectural firm knows how to design beautiful buildings that are wonderfully functional, said Rod Engel, president of Legacy Real Estate Development LLC, Deerfield, Ill.
“I think (AG Architecture) has a perfect blend of design skills and functionality,” he said. “(Often) you can have a functional building, but it’s boring, or a really cool building that’s difficult to build and can end up with deficiencies.”
Engel has worked with AG Architecture several times, most recently on The Flatiron condominiums in Milwaukee’s Park East Corridor. The Flatiron is built on a difficult, triangular parcel with a steep elevation change. But the condos and ground-level retail AG Architecture designed come together in a stone and glass building that celebrates the shape of the land.
“It’s a cutting-edge, neat building,” Engel said.
And one that has proved popular with residents. The building, completed in spring 2008, is 70 percent occupied, Engel said, despite the challenging housing market.
“It’s very successful, and we continue to have sales,” he said, “and (the design) is one of the reasons for it.”
AG Architecture also has found success in its senior-living designs.
The company continues to rack up awards and praise nationwide for projects such as Three Crowns Park, a retirement community in Evanston, Ill.
Susan Morse, executive director of Three Crowns Park, said AG Architecture designed an attractive, functional facility and worked well with the people living in the project’s residential neighborhood.
“AG Architecture demonstrated such a command of the needs of elderly individuals,” she said. “They have the ability to think creatively, to embrace our vision and incorporate it into our design, and work with our community on commentary.”
Three Crowns Park is on a full city block, bordered by single-family residential. When plans to expand the aging campus were announced, Morse said, neighbors were not supportive. But the firm’s ability to balance design and practicality won some over.
“At the end of the day, (one man) stood up and said, ‘I still don’t want it in my backyard, but Three Crowns Park handled this very well,’” Morse said. “(AG Architecture) knew where to be flexible and where you couldn’t sacrifice the quality of the project.”