Archives

  1. Aeon the Rose Housing

    This new housing complex includes 47 affordable and 43 market rate apartments, underground parking, and various indoor and outdoor community spaces. Using the Living Building Challenge (LBC) as a framework in the process, the designers placed equal emphasis on providing equity and beauty, meeting SB2030 goals for reducing energy 70% below baseline, reducing water use by 50%, and not significantly increasing construction costs over a conventional building. The design incorporates many small measures that add up to significant gains in each of these areas.

  2. Aeon the Louis Housing

    This project involved transforming a brownfield, industrial site in the Prospect Park neighborhood near the Minneapolis/Saint Paul border along the light rail transit Metro Green Line into 63 affordable apartments and 7 market-rate apartments. The site is part of a larger stormwater management district developed through the Prospect North Partnership. Our site was designed to provide stormwater collection and infiltration for a several block area. The district is also an urban village experience with pedestrian-oriented design and high-density livability. Amenities include a community space, conference room, secure courtyard with a play area, bicycle storage for every apartment, and a fitness center. The project received Metropolitan Council TOD funding and MHFA LIHTC funding by complying with Enterprise Green Communities standards.

  3. Trolley Quarter Flats

    Located on the Wisconsin River on the edge of downtown, the site presented challenges. A dilapidated, but structurally-sound trolley shed and wood super-structure (used to lift carriages off the trolley platform for repairs), located on the site, were the last remnants of Wausau’s street trolley system, which operated from 1906 to 1940. Understanding the historic significance of these structures, the developer and design team preserved and incorporated them into the design. The 40-unit complex includes private outdoor areas for all dwelling units, private garden plots for each ground level unit, play and study areas for children inside and outside the building, community space for adults, and parking. It has served as a catalyst for further revitalization of the surrounding neighborhood and to strengthen Wausau’s downtown.

  4. Atrium Lofts

    After completing the Trolley Quarter Flats, the MSR  Design project team noticed an abandoned building next door with an interesting history. The Marathon Shoe Company East Side Plant was the best remaining representation of a leading industry in the City of Wausau in the first half of the 20th century. MSR Design provided analysis, guidance, and encouragement to preserve the historic factory, leading to its placement on the National Register of Historic Places by Preservation Design Works. Working with MetroPlains Development, we transformed the historic structure into market-rate and affordable housing. To retain the building’s character, the design team preserved the large volume, open floor plate, and few internal walls. The design enhances daylight throughout the space, using clerestory windows to fill the central volume and large windows in each unit.

  5. Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative Lydia Apartments

    This expansion and renovation to a 3-story affordable housing building adds 40 new dwelling units in a 6-story addition. The existing 40 dwelling units were remodeled as well as all the common spaces including a new integrated front entrance, reception desk, elevator, and bike storage area, as well as a larger, upgraded community kitchen. New staff office space and office space for the support services and property management providers were also added. Programs provided to residents living at Lydia support formerly homeless residents in finding work, building life skills, learning job skills, and managing substance use disorders and mental health issues.

    The 6-story addition builds on the building’s mid-century quality by composing a strongly vertical addition that compliments the horizontality of the original building. The addition was pushed back away from the street to provide a more gracious front yard buffer along a busy street. The ground floor contains a glass pavilion that allows visual transparency through the building. The parking court behind the building was sized to meet the needs of the staff, residents, and visitors by successfully appealing to the city to lower the required parking count to match real needs since almost all residents walk, bicycle or use public transit. The apartments come completely furnished with linens and personal care products, since many residents are transitioning from homelessness.

  6. Project for Pride in Living & Clare Housing Bloom Lake Flats

    Bloom Lake Flats is an affordable housing complex with 50% of the apartments dedicated to people living with HIV/AIDS. The project was developed through a partnership between Project for Pride in Living (PPL) and Clare Housing. Bloom Lake Flats provides 42 efficiency dwelling units for residents who earn 15% of the area median income and 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartments for residents earning 30% of the area median income. The complex features spaces for supportive services, including a community room, a yoga room, onsite management and case worker office, and a nurse’s office. Also includes an outdoor green space and a play area.

  7. Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative Aster Commons

    Developed by Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, this new supportive housing complex contains 39 dwelling units designed to help young adults find calm and respite. It features a variety of flexible-use rooms scattered throughout the building that accommodate meetings between residents and care staff and counseling sessions, as well as providing safe, calming spaces for residents outside their individual apartments. The design employs biophilic elements (e.g., color, light control, organic shapes, interior plants, and views to the outdoor gardens) to bring the outdoors inside, create a calm and soothing environment, and provide spaces that are visually easy to navigate. A completely enclosed backyard will provide a safe, secure area for residents to engage in outdoor activities, separated by a paver patio from small outdoor rooms for contemplative activities and garden plots to be tended by the residents.

     

  8. GAP School Page Street Houses

    This project is a collaboration with GAP School, a skills training program that teaches young adults construction trades by having them build actual construction projects. The structures are designed to accommodate the program by using simple construction techniques, modest roof slopes, and moderate framing spans, while creating homes that meet the highest design standards. These four new single-family homes for low-income families are designed to accommodate multiple generations living under the same roof. The homes have bedrooms, bathrooms, and commons spaces on the ground floor for elderly or disabled family members. The homes are oriented on the lot to accommodate two parked cars in the driveway, leaving the adjacent public sidewalk clear for pedestrians.

    Referencing Passive House design standards, passive systems include a solar chimney, window placement to promote cross ventilation, concrete mass flooring, and large south-facing windows. Since the homes themselves serve as teaching tools, the design prioritizes more labor-intensive processes over expensive materials to achieve performance efficiencies. For example, the exterior walls are a double wall with rigid insulation to illustrate construction technique, rather than using more expensive insulation materials. Simple, time-honored passive design strategies enable homeowners to easily and sustainably maintain their homes. The client is pursuing LEED v4.1 Residential Single Family Homes Platinum certification for the first home.