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Home / 2010 Newsmakers of the Year / Designed for success

Designed for success

Architect of the Year

Engberg Anderson Inc.

Pictured (left to right) are Engberg Anderson partners Mark Ernst, Keith Anderson, Bill Robison, Joe Huberty, Chuck Engberg and Paul Cuta. (Photo by Dan Kabara)

Location might bring people to a building, but design can seal the deal in a tough market.

That’s the lesson Phillip Aiello, senior development manager with Mandel Group Inc., Milwaukee, said he learned while creating One at the North End, a condominium project that became an apartment complex in downtown Milwaukee.

The $15.5 million project started as four condominiums and one apartment building, but when the condo market tanked and the design had to be significantly changed, Engberg Anderson Inc., Milwaukee, handled it with grace, Aiello said. The 83-unit apartment and retail complex went on to become one of the fastest-leased properties in Mandel Group’s history, he said.

Engberg Anderson worked with the developer of One at the North End to adapt the design to the changing marketplace. (Photo submitted by Engberg Anderson Inc.)

The Barbara Hochberg Center for Jewish Student Life (Photo by Mike Rebholz)

“The architectural design of One is, I think, directly related to the success we’ve had leasing it,” Aiello said. “I really think what grabbed people, beyond the location, was the aesthetic.”

Appealing design also played a large role in the success of The Barbara Hochberg Center for Jewish Student Life in Madison, another building designed by the team at Engberg Anderson. The new home for Hillel at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a four-story steel, glass and Jerusalem stone building with a grand stair that has been called a work of art by visitors.

And even when working within the confines of an existing structure, Engberg Anderson’s designers know how to create beauty in the details, said Andy Hill, project engineer for the city of Beloit. The firm’s design transformed a former J.C. Penney store into a sun-filled public library for the city.

“It was a challenge to come up with an idea that would give a box store its own creativity and identity,” Hill said. “They were able to do that.”

Though project organizers didn’t seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, Engberg Anderson drew on its previous experience with LEED design — a major factor in the One at the North End project — to up the sustainability of the Beloit Public Library. The design added many skylights to the former retail outlet and included a system that makes ice at night to cool the library during the day.

The library’s design proved even the boxiest of department store buildings could be transformed into a LEED-inspired space in the hands of a good architect, Hill said.

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