2023 AIA Wisconsin Architectural Design Award Winners

Published: August 3, 2023 | Updated: September 7, 2023

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This year, ten projects have been recognized for excellence in architectural design by the 2023 Design Awards program of AIA Wisconsin, the state society of The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

All projects were designed by AIA Wisconsin architect members. Out of 64 total entries from architects across the state of Wisconsin, three projects were awarded the Honor Award for overall excellence, and seven projects received Merit Awards for distinction in a focused area. Projects could be located anywhere in the world as long as they were submitted by a Wisconsin architect member.

A nationally distinguished jury from outside of Wisconsin selected the award-winning projects. Members of the 2023 Design Awards jury included Janette S. Blackburn, FAIA, of Shepley Bulfinch, Jennifer Park, AIA, of Park Fowler Plus, and Todd Hoehn at WEISS/MANFREDI.

AIA Wisconsin has been promoting, supporting, and advocating on behalf of architects in the state of Wisconsin since 1911. The member organization focuses on providing continuing education to architects and designing a better built environment for the future. Each Design Award submission included AIA’s Framework for Design Excellence, which asks questions regarding how the project considered social and environmental issues in its design. Each of this year’s projects were measured not just on aesthetic components, but how the building interacts with people and the natural environment.

In celebration of the 2023 winners, AIA Wisconsin will be hosting their third annual Design Awards Gala in Milwaukee on Friday, September 15, 2023. Members of the public are invited. The gala will also be a fundraiser for the Wisconsin Architects Foundation (WAF), which provides scholarships, grants, and educational opportunities to further architects and the study of architecture in Wisconsin. Purchase tickets here.



The highest distinction in Wisconsin Architectural Awards. Indicates overall excellence, competitive at a national AIA level. (Listed in no particular order)

I enjoyed the variety and diversity of these projects, the stories behind the structures are quite fascinating.” - Jennifer Park, AIA

Marquette University Dr. E.J. and Margaret O’Brien Hall

Milwaukee, WI - BNIM & Workshop Architects

Photography by Kendall McCaugherty

Photography by Kendall McCaugherty

Architecture Firms: BNIM & Workshop Architects

Design Architects: James Pfeiffer, AIA

Design Team members: Katie Nichols, Matthew Kella, Sarah Murphy, John Collier, Janell Rock, Steve McDowell, Carleigh Pope, Jeremy Kahm, Greg Sheldon, Jeremy Knoll, Anastasia Huggins, Brian McKinney, Wally Johnson, Lindsay Lisowski, Tom Gonzalez, Patrick Castro, Taryn Singh, Mariah Tran, Cara Walls, Sam Kreuser

Owner: Marquette University

General Contractor: J.H. Findorff & Son Inc.

“I especially liked how brick is used in an inventive way- the design and detailing elevate brick to be one of the “cool kids” … really strong execution” - Janette Blackburn, FAIA

Project Summary: Dr. E.J. and Margaret O’Brien Hall is Marquette University’s new College of Business building. Inclusive design strategies focus on providing generous space, enhanced wayfinding and clear paths, visual transparency and clarity of programmatic spatial organization, quality lighting and daylight, and reduction in sensory noise. Multiple iterations of glazing system and daylight analysis studies formed an approach to understand the impact of quality daylighting. The project targeted overall energy reduction of 27% from baseline (EUI 35) by using a high-performance building envelope and glazing systems tuned to provide specific performance characteristics for specific orientations, offering a dense frit to lower solar heat gain, reduce glare and enhance visual comfort in the open study spaces throughout the atrium. As a result, every regularly occupiable space in the building has access to visually comfortable quality daylight and thermal comfort.

It’s also worth noting as a project completed during the onset of the pandemic, classroom spaces are specifically designed to be to accommodate all modes of learning, from in-person to hybrid to virtual learning.  

Cornell College Richard and Norma Small Athletic and Wellness Center

Mount Vernon, IA – Kahler Slater, Inc.

Photography by Peter McCullough

Photography by Peter McCullough

Architecture Firm: Kahler Slater, Inc.

Design Architects: Adam Bastjan, AIA, LEED AP

Design Team members: Jeff Piette, AIA; Chad Bloedel, AIA; Scott Lousier, AIA, LEED AP BD+C; Justin Hageman, AIA; Mary LaFrombois, ASID, IIDA, LEED AP, WELL AP; Matt Winder; Elliot Gorman; Whitney Wright

Owner: Cornell College

General Contractor: Mortenson Construction

“This space has a strong clarity and thoughtful allocation of color, branding and glazing in a dynamic athletic environment…" - Jennifer Park, AIA

Project Summary: Designed by Wisconsin-based Architecture firm, Kahler Slater, Inc., Cornell College’s Richard and Norma Small Athletic & Wellness Center is a fully ADA accessible facility that showcases the positive possibilities of renovation. Early on due to sustainability and cost concerns, it was determined that 95% of the existing building should be maintained and renovated. A new addition houses the main entry, providing the experience of a completely new facility while also maximizing the cost-saving and sustainability impacts of re-using the existing building. Material selection was also driven by sustainability criteria, including distance traveled. For example, the stone on the exterior, which forms the recessed entry, was from a quarry that was only 17 miles away from the site.

A main goal for the facility from the start was to provide a fully accessible experience throughout. An elevator was added and strategically placed directly adjacent to the main open circulating stair. This allows everyone who enters the building to have the same path of travel between levels.

Egg Harbor Lodge II

Egg Harbor, WI – Johnsen Schmaling Architects

Photography by John J. Macaulay

Photography by John J. Macaulay

Architecture Firm: Johnsen Schmaling Architects

Design Architects: Brian Johnsen, AIA & Sebastian Schmaling, AIA, LEED AP

Design Team members: P.J. Murrill, Andrew Cesarz


General Contractor: Tielens Construction

“The storyline of this project elevates the beautiful and clean design … good job at challenging the typical development norm to reinvent the motel vernacular with a unique contemporary experience.” -Todd Hoehn

Project Summary: A contemporary take on the roadside motel, Egg Harbor Lodge II perches on an expansive plateau overlooking Egg Harbor, Wisconsin, on the western shoreline of Door County peninsula. The building is organized as a series of four adjoining modules with identical footprints, allowing for either two large or four standard vacation rental spaces, depending on the configuration. The project initially encountered skepticism by financial lenders who doubted that a contemporary vacation rental property could succeed in a market dominated by aesthetically conservative or historicist accommodations.  However, since its completion, the lodge has seen a 95% occupancy rate, far exceeding its local competitors and attracting a large share of out-of-state guests.

Intentional choices were made on site to mitigate ecological impact, starting with the size of the building (the site had originally been zoned for large-scale commercial use), all the way down to the linear rain garden extending along the southern edge of the property that acts both as a stormwater drain off site and as sanctuary for native grasses and domestic birds. The building is insulated with closed-cell expanding foam, yielding insulation values that exceed building code requirements by 40%. High-efficiency glazing, Energy Star-rated appliances, and LED lighting throughout reduce the building’s overall operational power demand.



Awarded for a particular focus the project excelled at. (in no particular order)

“Architecturally, there’s really some great design going on in Wisconsin; I was impressed overall.” - Todd Hoehn

Peninsula Art School and Gallery: Youth Studio & Adult Studio Additions

Fish Creek, WI – HGA, Inc

Photography by xoMe Studio

Architecture Firm: HGA, Inc.

Design Architects: James Shields, FAIA

Design Team members: Bill Borkenhagen, Project Architect; Rob Docter, Architectural Staff; Pao Yang, Architectural Staff; Kevin Allebach, Principal

Owner: Peninsula Art School and Gallery

General Contractor: Boldt

“Mediates old forms with new and provides for functionality and flexibility of an open space… what really caught my attention was the choice to infill trusses with glass so that when they divide spaces this detail assists with acoustic functionality." - Jennifer Park, AIA

Project Summary: The Clients of this this Door County art school requested open space for hosting Plein Air Art Festival events, a Youth Studio Wing to teach art to public school students, and a series of adult studios for 2D and 3D art. Additionally, they required a future Digital Art Wing and various renovations to the existing building to accommodate their needs over time. As a result, the design team utilized a clean, contemporary form, that fit with the 1989 10-sided barn. The result features a combination of laminated wood structure and light wood frame walls, complemented by engineered-wood cladding for both new and existing buildings. Black-clad wood windows were utilized throughout the project, providing a cohesive aesthetic, along with economical sealed concrete floors.

Inside, laminated timber trusses create expansive and open studios, showcasing the natural wood structure which contrasts with the white metal acoustical decking and drywall to enhance the naturally lit spaces created by skylights in the Adult Studios. The Youth Studios is designed with movable partitions hung beneath the wood trusses which can be opened to allow for seamless transformation of the space itself. Transparent glass was also inserted into the truss openings to ensure excellent sound control when the partitions shape the interior into individual classrooms

Resch Expo

Ashwaubenon, WI – Kahler Slater, Inc. & Populous

Photography by Peter McCullough

Architecture Firms: Kahler Slater, Inc. & Populous

Design Architects: Jeff Piette, AIA, NCARB; Matt Breest, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

Design Team members:  Kahler Slater: Ryan Freeland, AIA, NCARB; Scott Lousier, AIA, LEED AP BD+C; Skip Holshbach, AIA, LEED AP; Ed Dueppen, AIA, LEED AP; Justin Hageman, AIA; Matt Winder; Joe Schultz, AIA; Mary LaFrombois, ASID, IIDA, LEED AP, WELL AP; Tony LaPorte; Caitlin Schneider

Populous: Todd Gralla, AIA; Greggory Zamell, AIA; Colleen Cassidy, AIA, NCARB; Adam Paulitsch, AIA, NCARB; Danny Conroy, AIA, NCARB; Christine Wright, NCIDQ, LEED AP IDC

Owner: Brown County, WI; Village of Ashwaubenon; PMI Entertainment

General Contractor: Miron Construction

“The articulation and of this ‘big box’ was very well done. It’s a challenging typology to articulate and make beautiful but has been executed extremely well. The connectivity and transparency to the public promenade is an important urban feature.” -Todd Hoehn

Project Summary: Adjacent to the iconic Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers, and directly connected to the existing Resch Center arena, the new 266,000 square foot Resch Expo helps form the core of a two-mile entertainment corridor that connects the Packers’ Titletown development on the west with the Village of Ashwaubenon. A sweeping roofline creates three individual elevations, forming a grand entrance at the front of the building. The new building's main draw is an open exhibition space that is already attracting trade shows, sporting events and large meetings that had previously passed on the Green Bay area. The space can also be subdivided into three exhibit halls and is complemented by six breakout suites on the second floor.

The exterior wood planks on the roof are a subtle nod to the region’s timber and paper industry. Local construction workers were also hired to build the Expo, keeping 85% of construction dollars in the community.

9th & Broadway

Sacramento, CA – Johnsen Schmaling Architects

Photography by John J. Macaulay

Architecture Firm: Johnsen Schmaling Architects

Design Architects: Brian Johnsen, AIA & Sebastian Schmaling, AIA, LEED AP

Design Team members: Andrew Cesarz; Ben Penlesky; P.J. Murill

Developer: Indie Capital

General Contractor: Indie Capital

“I thought it hit all the categories that AIA was looking for in terms of promoting equitable communities and sustainability… very responsive to the site.” -Janette Blackburn, FAIA

Project Summary: Located in a long-vacant parcel in Sacramento’s Richmond Grove district, 9th & Broadway is an urban community of eight side-by-side duplex rowhouses that was designed to stitch together the rugged neighborhood fabric.  In the 1960s, the construction of the Interstate Highway permanently severed the Richmond Grove district from the city’s older neighborhoods, leading to decades of disinvestment and neglect. More recently, Richmond Grove has been rediscovered as an affordable and demographically diverse community with easy access to downtown Sacramento. Some observers doubted the viability of the project, given the underlying challenges of the site and its surroundings; however, since the project was first announced, a dozen or so additional housing projects have gotten underway.

Each duplex offers two units, each with a separate entrance to accommodate a variety of combined or separate living, rental, and ownership arrangements. Depending on demand and programmatic needs, the units can be occupied independently or combined into one larger dwelling. While the front micro-units are accessed from Broadway, the upper 2-bedroom apartments open onto a private outdoor space modeled after the Dutch concept of Woonerfs (“living courts”), shared by all residents. The colorful, angled façade of the building is a playful nod to the famous Historic Rose Garden at the Old City Cemetery across the street and gives each individual duplex its own color identity and imbues the development with a recognizable, locally inspired identity along busy Broadway.

Gallery Shed

Jackson, WI – Galbraith Carnahan Architects

Photography by Alloy Photography

Architecture Firm: Galbraith Carnahan Architects

Design Architects: Nick Carnahan, AIA

Design Team members: John Annis

Owner: Garson & Lorie Marks

General Contractor: Highpoint Design Build Group

"The process seems thoughtful and intentional, and I thought the end result was beautiful” - Janette Blackburn, FAIA

Project Summary: Gallery Shed was born from a life-long dream for a retired couple to ‘live’ amongst their extensive art collection within a sleek, gallery-like environment. The overall form and exterior took inspiration from the metal-clad utilitarian machine sheds that dot the surrounding rural landscape of the project’s Jackson, Wisconsin location while allowing the use of budget-conscious materials. The home is placed just below the natural ridge of the site, which helps preserve the land's natural slope and complements the natural landscape, while also allowing for the continuation of farming.

The structure’s straight-forward shape enables simple future expansion and results in creating some of the standout features of the project, such as the use of standard trusses to create the ‘museum-esque’ bank of skylights that run down the spine of the home. This series of skylights placed on the southern roof capture sunlight, which is then diffused by canted openings, providing the ability to illuminate the owners’ artwork without admitting direct sunlight. The majority of the owners’ art collection lives on a custom, adjustable steel framework, allowing the homeowners to curate new visual experiences echoing the changing scenery as they view the landscape transition through the seasons.

Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers

Whitefish Bay, WI – LA DALLMAN

Photography by Kevin Miyazaki

Architecture Firm: LA DALLMAN

Design Architects: James Dallman, AIA, Principal-in-charge

Design Team members: James Dallman, AIA; Grace La; Aimilios Davlantis-Lo; Omar Valentin; Nancy Nichols; Mark Pantano; Brian Lee; Joyce Chang; Reuben Zeiset; Becca Schalip



“I appreciate the effort to create a beautiful design on historic main street that connects back to the community and helps activate the streetscape.” -Todd Hoehn

Project Summary:

Family-owned jeweler’s shop, Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers in Whitefish Bay, WI, decided on a second story addition while maintaining their existing 1900s building. This addition exemplifies how small-scale projects can have an outsized impact on their urban contexts. Situated along a typical American main street, the rooftop project creates an inviting place for social connection and commerce as a counterpoint to the prevalence of digital marketplaces and big-box retail. The new space includes a gathering area, prep kitchen, dining room, and bar to host a variety of neighborhood events, such as celebrations of local restauranteurs who are invited to introduce their menus.

Built entirely by Wisconsin builders, the project uses all local materials. It celebrates craftsmen from the surrounding community as well as Wisconsin artists, who were commissioned to create original artwork for the interior. Embodied carbon emissions in retail buildings are historically high due to poor use of floor space, and a less-controlled design/construction process involving separate contracts for shell and interior fit-out. The most effective way to reduce carbon impact is to eliminate major material groups, which turn over at 5-year intervals. As such, this project attempts to utilize the fewest number of materials possible, including raw concrete floors (no additional finish) and reduces wall layering (i.e., minimizing the presence of gypsum and plastics). The goal was to create a robust, enduring project exceeding the typical retail cycle.

Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority (WHEDA)

Madison, WI – Potter Lawson, Inc.

Photography by Mike Rebholz

Architecture Firm: Potter Lawson, Inc.

Design Architects: Andrew Laufenberg, AIA

Design Team members: Doug Hursh, AIA; Jaime Denman

Owner: Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority (WHEDA)

General Contractor: Ideal Builders

“Interesting twist to an industrial warehouse building through the use of materials and the legibility of the formal intersection of two volumes." -Jen Park, AIA

Project Summary:

Founded in 1972, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) provides affordable housing and business financing products by working with lenders, developers, local government, nonprofits, and community groups. This new 5-story development and home of WHEDA headquarters compliments the surrounding context and pays homage to this historical site, recalling the use of masonry while also incorporating modern steel and glass elements of today. The high performance/low maintenance brick exterior, coupled with high efficiency Low E coated glazing, sets the sustainability tone for this once underutilized urban site. Structured parking reduces the community parking footprint, diminishes stormwater run-off, and WHEDA shares the structure with the surrounding community to further reduce parking lot sprawl.

In response to flooding in 2018, the design team raised the building 28.5” to meet the 1,000 year flood plain threshold. Plumbing installations feature automation and were chosen for high efficiency, low consumption, and low flow use. Energy efficiency was a driving goal of the design. Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) systems reuse heat as needed rather than rejecting to ambient atmosphere, and the energy recovery make up air system is 76% efficient, using both sensible and latent for total heat recovery. Variable Frequency Drive pumps anchor the high efficiency motors. The boiler systems for the development are over 95% efficient.

Frederick Underwood Log Home

Wauwatosa, WI – Galbraith Carnahan Architects

Photography by Alloy Photography

Architecture Firm: Galbraith Carnahan Architects

Design Architects: Nick Carnahan, AIA

Design Team members: Joe Galbraith AIA

Owner: Galnahan Properties

General Contractor: Galbraith Carnahan Architects

Photography: Alloy Photography

“Definitely deserving of recognition for the challenge undertaken and what was accomplished.” -Janette Blackburn, FAIA

Project Summary: When a developer purchased and threaten to raze the historic 1921 Underwood Log Home constructed by a founding family of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, Galbraith Carnahan Architects saw an opportunity to restore the structure. The cabin itself was saved, along with thousands of pounds of salvaged wood, steel, light and plumbing fixtures that went into the rehabilitation. The cabin interior was stripped of all unnecessary modifications made over the past 100 years (acoustical tile, teal carpeting, wood paneling) and brought down to its purest essence. Much of the material utilized in the rehabilitation of the Underwood Log Home was salvaged from other buildings. Repurposing materials prevented that material from ending up in the landfill and eliminated the ecological burden of sourcing new materials, such as VOC content and manufacturing impact.

The structure was moved from its original location to a tight urban infill site in a 1920’s streetcar suburb, adding density to a previously vacant lot on the commercial North Avenue. Throughout the years, the building has been an art gallery, a marketing agency, a dentist’s office, an optometrist’s office, an early version of a co-working space, and a gravestone sales office. It now functions as the architecture firm’s primary office space.


2023 JURY

Janette S. Blackburn, FAIA – Janette Blackburn, FAIA, LEED AP, is a Principal at Shepley Bulfinch, a leader in the firm's higher education and library design practice. As an award-winning architect and planner, she excels in building consensus among diverse clients. Janette's work is informed by a deep understanding of teaching and learning environments and the programs that support community life on campus. Throughout her career, she has crafted spaces that respond to occupants' activity patterns, creating versatile and memorable places tailored to their communities and designed for lasting relevance. Coaching and leading project teams at Shepley Bulfinch, Janette fosters creative thinking and a culture of openness. She is an active member of the American Institute of Architects, the Boston Society of Architects, and the Society for College and University Planning, where she serves on the North Atlantic Regional Council. A speaker, writer, and teacher, at the local and global level, she most recently co-authored "The Designer's Lens: How Architects See Space" for the 2022 book Designing Libraries for the 21st Century. Janette received the Ball State Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2018 and was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in 2019.

Jennifer Park, AIA - Jennifer Park, AIA, holds over 20 years of experience and is currently a Principal and Co- Founder at Park Fowler Plus, and a Professor of Practice/Coordinator of Second Year Architecture Studio at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Jennifer's portfolio features a multitude of noteworthy projects including her contributions to museum design and community outreach for the Obama Presidential Center Museum, an innovative animated ceiling design for a corporate interior at 35 E. Wacker in downtown Chicago, and the AIA Chicago Honor Award winning BARDAVID restaurant. In an interview with Julia Gamolina of Madame Architect, Park expressed her dedication to advancing equity and diversity through utilization of her professional and academic platforms. Her roles as a founding member in AIA Chicago's Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, and current position as a co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee at IIT College of Architecture exemplify this dedication. Jennifer has earned recognition as a recipient the 2021 AIA National Young Architects Award, the 2019 AIA Chicago Dubin Family Young Architect Award, and was named one of Chicago's Women of Influence by Michigan Avenue magazine.

Todd Hoehn - Todd Hoehn is a Principal at WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism, a multidisciplinary design practice based in New York City. For the past 20 years he has been leading complex multidisciplinary projects focused on integrating sustainable landscape and architecture in the public realm. Todd is currently the principal in charge of the Longwood Gardens Reimagined Project in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania featuring a passive conservatory and the La Brea Tar Pits and Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, California a world geological heritage site.  Previously, he was the Senior Project Manager for the collaborative research facilities of the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and was the Project Architect for the Seattle Art Museum Olympic Sculpture Park which is downtown Seattle's largest green space, open free to the public. Todd received a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.


The public is invited to attend the 2023 AIA Wisconsin Design Awards Gala, a celebration of Architectural Award winners on Friday, September 15, 2023, at the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory Domes in Milwaukee. Purchase tickets here.

Are you a fan of architecture? Join the Wisconsin Architect Foundation’s Friends of Architecture and receive member pricing at all AIA Wisconsin public events, including the Gala for a tax-deductible donation of $75/year. Visit FriendsofArchitecture.org for more information. Be a part of the conversation!

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