Set to open August 14, the Madison Children's Museum is turning a former Montgomery Ward department store built in 1929 into a new, LEED-certified museum.
The Madison, Wisc.-based project was designed by a team including members of J.H. Findorff & Son, The Kubala Washatko Architects, as well as other local artists, artisans, and laborers. Some of the five-floor, 41,570 square-foot museum's green features include LED lighting throughout the building, solar panels, and non-toxic and no-VOC products for interior paints, finishes and adhesives.
The project team set a goal to recycle 75 percent of the project's construction waste. The building also makes use of reclaimed construction materials, such as the benches created by students and professors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison out of used, local hardwoods. In addition, boards from two fallen barns in southern Wisconsin were used to create a "squashed house" exhibit area, a wooden arch from an old grocery store was reused to create a bridge walkway, used power lines were repurposed into rain chains, and refurbished gymnasium bleachers from Oak Creek Junior High School became window sills and seating. Additionally, the museum makes use of natural, nontoxic, locally harvested materials such as the earthen Music Hut composed of local soil, wheat straw, wheat paste, beeswax, and food-grade linseed oil that has to ability to be fully composted. A rock grotto was created used Door County and Fond du Lac stone hailing from local quarries.
The building is topped by the Rooftop Ramble Capitol Overlook, a four-season rooftop with a club house and an accessible green roof with native landscaping. The rooftop also harvests rainwater for use in the children's garden, and is home to wind-generated music features and a weather station.
Take a virtual tour, courtesy The Kubala Washatko Architects: