Archives

  1. Minnesota Children’s Museum

    A reorganized interior improves entry sequencing, ticketing, and circulation by moving the main entry from street level to skyway level where 80% of visitors arrive from a parking structure. A new central stair and elevator provide visually clear access to exhibit galleries from the main lobby. New colorful portals offer clear wayfinding to exhibit galleries, which provide neutral and flexible shell space for changing exhibits. The redesigned interior and exterior simplify the visual complexity of the original architecture to provide an orderly backdrop to the energetic chaos created by hundreds of kids engaging with highly interactive exhibits. Annual attendance at the museum has increased by 28% since reopening.

  2. Madison Municipal Building

    Constructed in 1929 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Madison Municipal Building originally functioned as a United States Postal Service facility and federal courthouse. The multi-phased renovation and reorganization uncovers and preserves the building’s historic character, while adapting it to serve 21st-century government functions. The project brings together various local government agencies, previously scattered across two buildings, to improve customer service and inter-agency communication. Certified LEED-NC v. 3 Platinum, the building transformation supports the health and well-being of staff, visitors, and the entire community.

  3. Drexel University College of Media Arts and Design URBN Center

    The respectful repurposing of a landmark Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates (VSBA) decorated shed provides a new home for Drexel University’s College of Media Arts and Design (CoMAD). Key goals driving the project included bringing disparate CoMAD departments together in one location and encouraging cross-collaboration between disciplines. To transform the office building and annex (once a daycare center), the design concept focuses on respecting the original intent, making more with less, and providing opportunities for learning by doing.

  4. Carleton College Weitz Center for Creativity

    The Weitz Center serves as a working laboratory for creativity—not only in the arts, but across the entire curriculum. It positions the college as a national leader in arts programs by creating an environment that fosters creativity, critical thinking, collaborative working skills, and cross-cultural exploration. An adaptive reuse and expansion of a former middle school complex, the center houses the departments of studio arts, dance and theater, and cinema and media studies. It incorporates classrooms, studios, a teaching museum, performance spaces, and state-of-the-art collaborative spaces.

     

     

     

  5. Mount Curve Modern Residence

    The design respects the existing aesthetic of this significant work of mid-century modernism—originally designed by University of Minnesota architecture professor Robert Bliss—while incorporating new amenities. The kitchen has been expanded into the former maid’s room and includes an adjacent sitting area with a fireplace. The design connects this space to the dining and living rooms and terrace beyond by opening an existing oak-clad wall, which is detailed to match the original. The master bedroom suite includes a bath with a Japanese soaking tub and custom cabinetry designed to match the existing millwork found throughout the home. Adjacent to the garage, the former chauffeur’s room has been converted into a guest suite.

  6. Washburn Lofts, 4th Floor Loft

    New, simple, modern additions complement the old mill’s re-exposed concrete shell and a graffiti-covered brick wall. An enclosed box in the center of the loft houses more quiet functions, including a study (that doubles as a guest room with a Murphy bed concealed in the millwork), bedrooms, and bathrooms. The open living and dining area and adjacent kitchen provide space for entertaining and offer stunning views of the Mississippi River. High-quality, neutral material choices provide consistency throughout the space, from the bleached wood floors and tiled bathrooms to the white walls contrasted with dark-stained oak millwork.

  7. Aimia U.S. Headquarters

    Following the success of a previous tenant improvement project in a suburban office park, Aimia hired the same MSR design team to design its new space. With its new office, Aimia has moved to a mobile working employee strategy. Offering a limited number of dedicated workstations, the new environment instead features diverse spaces to accommodate varying work styles and meeting requirements. Employees can choose to work from home, in the office, or on the road while traveling, depending on individual schedules and needs. Three different color-coded (green, blue, and purple) neighborhoods provide differentiation and facilitate wayfinding.

  8. Wooddale Church Youth Center

    This renovation turns closed space inside-out and provides access to daylight for all classrooms and gathering spaces. New wayfinding and circulation paths create community connections, while providing secure spaces for pre-K and elementary school youth. Energizing color, playful graphics, and complementary materials establish variety and help navigate visitors to various areas and activities. The church knitting club also enjoys meeting on the spinner seats in the new space, demonstrating that all ages can find inspiration in environments that stimulate creativity and learning.

  9. 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.

  10. McAllen Main Library

    With an area equivalent to nearly 2 1/2 football fields, the building is the largest single-story library in the U.S. The designers had the old store interior and new mechanical systems painted white to form a neutral shell for patron and service areas, which are designated with color. Primary program areas—including community meeting rooms, the children’s library, adult services, and the staff area—are located in quadrants of the building. This clear organization allows easy wayfinding and customer access from a central service spine, delineated by a patterned wood ceiling that runs the length of the building.

    MSR Design led the design of the building interior and furniture selection as part of a team led by McAllen-based firm Boultinghouse Simpson Gates Architects.