YELLOW JACKET UNION UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN - SUPERIOR
Scope: 84,600 GSF New Construction
Total Project Budget: $20,900,000
Completion: Spring 2010
The prairie grasses of northern Wisconsin became the narrative for UW-Superior's "Yellow Jacket Union." A vegetated roof, visible across campus, changes color from spring greens to summer pinks and fall oranges; the roof alone tells the story of the seasons, as well as serving the practical purpose of insulating the building during Superior's long cold winters. Through a thoughtful use of color, a large-scale fireplace, and large windows that let in light, the union glows with warmth. The Yellow Jacket Union fully embraces its local geography along the banks of Lake Superior.
Intimacy with Density
On the University of Wisconsin system's smallest campus, UW-Superior's union demanded close attention to scale. The risk of creating large vacuous spaces could have lead to an increased feeling of isolation. Achieving critical social mass required a well-considered overlapping of programmatic functions to create what Workshop calls "thick space." Low visual barriers and dense programming generated the social vibrancy that the old Yellow Jacket Union lacked. Although the union feels large, with its two-story windows, a floor to ceiling fireplace, and a grand stair leading to a mezzanine, there are many cozy nooks for intimate conversations over coffee or an afternoon with a favorite book.
"You and your staff have been a pleasure to work with. Your professionalism shows in how you thoughtfully considered our input and stretched our thinking, but you also managed to make it fun as we worked our way through an unfamiliar process. The enthusiasm you bring to your work is infectious!"
Janet Hanson, Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance
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