In the heart of downtown Madison, the US Bank Plaza building is positioned proudly on some of the city’s most coveted real estate. Located in the middle of the Madison Isthmus where East Washington Avenue meets the Capitol Square, the building boasts beautiful views of the historic Wisconsin State Capitol building as well as lakes Mendota and Monona.
The renovated US Bank Plaza takes full advantage of these stunning sights with its floor-to-ceiling windows, but its roof patio is really the place to be to absorb such a special location. “As the largest elevated outdoor space that overlooks the Capitol Square, the terrace is an incredible amenity for this building,” describes Michelle Hammerling, Construction Project Manager at Urban Land Interests (ULI).
Spanning a generous 20,000 square feet with the ability to welcome over 400 people, the recently renovated fourth-floor terrace has become a hub of outdoor work, socializing and relaxation for the building’s tenants and community. “Needing to replace the roof was our opportunity to step back and really reimagine what the space could be,” Hammering says.
For the terrace transformation, ULI brought in architecture firm SmithGroup to guide the project’s design. "ULI’s vision for the terrace was really forward-thinking, using design and the principles of space to enhance people’s quality of life,” says Ivo Rozendaal, AIA, Associate & Studio Leader at SmithGroup.
Offering an elegant sense of place and providing welcoming amenities, Landscape Forms’ Upfit adaptive outdoor structures became the redesigned terrace’s defining architectural features. Looking to maximize the view while also offering shelter and privacy, Rozendaal sought out Upfit for its unique level of customizability. "The Capitol view is really the driving experience for the terrace," he says. “So, we really appreciated how we could dial in the Upfit structures, aligning columns and using infill panels to make parts of the space feel intimate and private without ever blocking the view of the Capitol.”
Together with its customizability, Rozendaal says he also chose Upfit for its simplicity in responding to the unique challenges this project posed. "Up on the roof of an existing building, there are a lot of challenges to manage like fitting with existing architecture, addressing structural integrity, and addressing things like wind load,” Rozendaal describes.
The US Bank Plaza Upfit modules arrived prepared for the challenges at hand, incorporating automated roof louvers to not only ensure comfort throughout changing weather conditions, but also to ensure structure safety by responding to increased wind and uplift. The structures also feature integrated lighting to welcome evening events and power to support modern work and collaboration outdoors.
“We really appreciated Upfit as a turnkey solution from a manufacturer who stands behind their design and can help guide you through its structural engineering process.”
-Ivo Rozendaal, AIA, Associate & Studio Leader at SmithGroup
A longstanding project that began before the COVID-19 pandemic and evolved throughout, Rozendaal says the US Bank Plaza terrace takes on new meaning in light of changing social and public health conditions: "The vision for this outdoor amenity space became that much more special to me as we were able to host some of our city’s first community events and safely bring people back together again."