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Trolley Quarter Flats

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    • a historic former trolley shed has been given new life as part of an affordable housing complex
    • Overview

      “Once upon a time, streetcar lines crisscrossed most major American cities. Even little Wausau, Wisconsin, had a trolley system. It’s long gone, of course, but one visible reminder still stands—a 1920s trolley shed that’s just been granted a second life as the centerpiece of a new affordable housing complex.

      The simplicity of the long rectangular shed—textured cast-block walls and a gable roof are its defining features—lent itself to a modern vision for the additions to complement the shed, not copy it. . . . Inside, generously-sized apartments and inviting communal spaces have made Trolley Quarter Flats a hit with working families and artists. (The 42-unit complex also includes nearly 36,000 square feet of new construction designed to complement the 6,000-square-foot shed in massing, character, and quality of space.)”—Architecture Minnesota 

    • inside, common areas retain a modern, industrial feel through the use of simple, durable materials
    • amenities include a community room, indoor and outdoor play areas, and private garden plots
    • pops of color were an affordable way to make the public corridors feel warm and welcoming
    • floor-to-ceiling windows that open on to terraces and patios make the living units feel bright and modern
    • unit plans feature open layouts, where the kitchen is part of the main living space
    • units within the former trolley shed are especially popular for their high ceilings and loft aesthetic
    • Awards

      AIA Minnesota/McKnight Foundation Affordable Housing Design Award.

    • Specifications

      Location: Wausau, Wisconsin
      Type: Adaptive reuse and new construction
      Size: 5,927 square feet (adaptive reuse); 39,593 square feet (new construction)
    • Project Contact

      Paul C.N. Mellblom

      • Architect / Principal
      • paul@msrdesign.com
      • 612 209 7787
      • View Bio