Johnson Creek, Wisconsin


Light-filled contemporary architecture and leading-edge medical care are not usually associated with rural health care facilities. Clinics serving rural populations are more likely to be bland modular buildings that competently provide the basics at low cost but offer little in the way of vibrant, nurturing spaces for patients and staff. Which prompts the question: Do the economics of health care delivery necessitate this cookie-cutter, one-set-of-options-fits-all approach?

Not always, say those responsible for the 14,300-square-foot UW Cancer Center Johnson Creek, in Johnson Creek, Wisconsin, a quiet community located between Madison and Milwaukee on I-94. The owners—UW Health, Fort Health Care, and the nearby Watertown Memorial Hospital—achieved something far greater by joining forces (and resources) and asking the Chicago office of OWP/P to design a signature building, one that would elevate the center’s profile and, most important, foster the best possible experience for patients in very difficult circumstances. The result uses natural light, visual connections to the landscape, and form to create that gentle uplift.

OWP/P project director Jim Mladucky, AIA, credits UW Cancer Center director Lynda Persico and her colleagues with having a “very clear vision of how they wanted the building to function, how the flow of patients was going to work, and how staff would interact with patients.” To offset the intimidation the elderly and the very ill might feel in a high-tech, clinical environment, the center’s state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment areas—including a linear accelerator, a device for high-energy radiation therapy that must be housed in an ultra-thick concrete vault—needed to be exceedingly easy to find and navigate. And while the clients wanted that inviting, noninstitutional feel to extend to all aspects of the building, they also sought a bold design that would attract and retain top talent and reflect the 21st-century medical care inside.

The project’s defining feature, an asymmetrical butterfly roof that dramatically expresses the building’s steel frame at both ends, is both a practical and metaphorical response to the program. The “wing” at the east end of the building rises to create a clerestory above the entrance, lobby/check-in desk, and waiting area. The other, much-longer roof deck lifts at a shallower angle to accommodate the height of the linear accelerator vault and hide the mechanical systems in a plenum along the north (front) side of the building and, on the south side, bring light into the center’s wide central corridor through another clerestory. For patients accustomed to radiation and oncology departments in institutional basement settings, the interior light and volume afforded by the roof angles are nothing short of a small miracle.


UW Health, Fort Atkinson Health System and Waterton Memorial Hospital

111 W. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602 
Phone: 312.332.9600
Fax: 312.332.9601

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Randy Guillot, AIA – Design Principal

Jim Mladucky, AIA, ACHA, CCS - Project Director

Troy Hoggard, AIA, LEED AP - Project Designer

Scott Nelson, AIA, ACHA, MBA - Programmer

Jennifer Knapp – Interior Design

Mike Yoshimura, AIA - Technical Coordinator

Elizabeth Werner – Project Architect

Interior designer: OWP/P
Jennifer Knapp - Senior Interior Designer & Planner

Beth Smith - Interior Designer

Elizabeth Kolzow - Intern Architect

Scott Lay - Project Architect    

Structural engineer:
Graef, Anhalt, Schloemer & Associates

Fred Groth is designated as Principal – Structural

Mechanical engineer:
Affiliated Engineers, Inc.
Jim Yoshida as the Lead Mechanical engineer

Electrical engineer:
Affiliated Engineers, Inc. (Steve Miller)

General contractor CG Schmidt Construction (Bruce Danek, Rod Marron, and Dale Smith)

Photographer(s):  James Steinkamp © Steinkamp Ballogg Photography



Principal interior construction materials by manufacturer:
Wallcoverings: Paint only (Sherman Williams)

Paint: Sherman Williams

Laminate:  Pionite

Masonry:  Endicott Clay Products

Tile:  Crossville Strong Porcelain Tile / American Olean / Brillante Glass Mosaic Tile

Vinyl Tile:  Armstrong

Rubber Base:  Johnsonite

Ceiling Tile:  Armstrong

Linoleum Flooring: Forbo

Carpet/carpet tile: Interface

Carpet fiber: Interface

Carpet backing:  Interface-Glasbac Tile Performance Broadloom

Ceiling: Armstrong Cirrus

Lighting controls panel: Douglas Lighting Controls

General recessed down lighting: Capri, Omega Revelation

Decorative recessed down lighting: Lucifer

Decorative wall sconces: Visa, Scott Architectural Lighting

Decorative pendants: Scott Architectural Lighting, Pathway Serio

Direct/Indirect Recessed Troffers: Focal Point

Treatment Room Direct/Indirect Lighting: Ledalite Pure FX

Egress Lighting: Concealite, Lithonia

Doors: Wood Veneers (Eggers)

Door hardware: (Hardware in general – LaForce)

Glass: Kawneer FG Series/Kawneer Encore Series

Window frames:  (Exterior only) Kawneer

Window treatments: Creative Energy

Principal Furninshing by Manufacturer:
Exam and Infusion room seating:

Casegoods: Knoll

Patient overbed tables:  Softcare

Patient room lighting: See lighting above

Lounge seating:

Cafeteria/dining seating:
Other seating:

Design Tex
Paul Brayton
LJH Spinners

Cafeteria/dining/conference tables:  Haworth

Coffee and side tables: Brandrud

Files and shelving: Knoll

Building systems by manufacturer
Air Handling Unit – Carrier
Boiler – Thermal Solutions
Pumps, expansion tank, air separator, multi-purpose valve – Taco
Balancing Valves – Bell & Gossett
Chemical Batch Feeder – Griswold
Unit Heaters and Cabinet Unit Heaters – Sterling
Fans – Greenheck
Variable Frequency Drives – ABB
Process Chillers – Liebert
Self-Contained Air Conditioning Units – Liebert
Air Terminal Devices and Reheat Coils – Krueger
Diffusers, Registers, and Grilles – Price
Radiant Ceiling Panels – Aerotech Manufacturing, Inc.
Sound Attenuating Device: VAW Systems
Control Dampers – Ruskin

Fire safety: 
Fire Extinguisher Cabinets – JL Industries
Firestopping – Specified Tech., Inc.

Security: Key Card Readers – Keri Systems, Inc.

Building management system:
Toilets – Kohler
Flush valves – Sloan
Carriers – Jay R. Smith
Lavatories – Kohler
Faucets – Chicago Faucets and Kohler
Sinks – Elkay
Drinking Fountain – Elkay