Completion Date: 2009
Owner: Marcus Hotels & Resorts
Program: A 960-square-foot basement lounge and dining room serving the janitors, cooks, and maids of Milwaukee's Pfister Hotel.
Design concept and solution: Carving out a new canteen from a provisional break room and a smattering of residual spaces, the architects wanted to create a communal gathering place that offers a respite from the formality of the Romanesque Revival hotel upstairs. The perimeter of the canteen weaves around foundation columns and mechanical areas to unify all usable space into one room. A 21-foot harvest table anchors the canteen and encourages communal dining. In place of windows (which weren't an option in the basement), the architects cut into the walls to reveal the layers underneath—iron pipes, old furring strips, paint spills, quarried masonry foundations—which they framed with MDF and set behind clear acrylic lenses. Softly lit like display cases, these apertures add warmth, enhanced by a varnished wood veneer–panel ceiling and bamboo floors.
Total construction cost: $65,000
Johnsen Schmaling Architects
1699 N. Astor Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Interior designer: Johnsen Schmaling Architects
General contractor: Tri-North Builders, Inc.
CAD system, project management, or other software used:
Suspension grid: Armstrong
Custom Wood ceiling: Hillcraft
Custom Woodwork: Hillcraft
Paints and stains: Benjamin Moore
Flooring: Teragren Bamboo
Lighting: Juno and Custom