Urban Evolutions jumped at the opportunity to provide both reclaimed materials and design support to Wisconsin based US Venture’s Corporate Office Building.
“We don’t often get the opportunity to work on a local project of such scale and commitment to re-use of local materials,” says Robin Janson.
From massive roof decking timbers, salvaged from a Marina in La Crosse, Wisconsin, to Doug Fir paneling salvaged from Green Bay Pickle tanks, story and character are present throughout the 3 levels of offices and conference rooms. Perhaps the salvage coup was rescuing timbers from the original Thomas Edison Factory in New London, Wisconsin. These historic timbers were re-sawn into massive 4” thick x 60” stair treads as well as random width boards cladding the ceiling of the expansive lobbies.
Decking under the exterior roof overhangs are roof decking timbers, salvaged from a marina in La Crosse, Wisconsin on the Mississippi River in 2009. The 54-foot Douglas-fir timbers were milled to 2.5” thick to meet structural decking requirements. These timbers are laminated boards made of several layers glued together, called “glue-lams.” This makes them especially strong to meet the strict structural requirements of the building.
Applied Wood Decking
Found along the balcony and ceiling in the lobby are re-sawn maple timbers, salvaged from the original Thomas Edison factory in New London, Wisconsin. The factory, founded in 1917 by Edison and his brother, originally manufactured gramophones. In 1927, with the advent of the Great Depression, demand for phonographs slowed, as they were considered a luxury item. To keep all the employees working, focus turned to manufacturing children’s furniture under the brand name of “Edison Little Folks Furniture”.
Featured in the lobby along the east wall and reception desk is reclaimed Douglas-fir paneling from Dean Foods of Green Bay Wisconsin, where it once lined their pickling tanks. The boards were soaked and dried to leech out the salty brine. After sawing into 2.5” thick boards, the applied dark stain provides a beautiful vertical grain panel.
Furniture and Flooring
The second floor Founder’s Room features a table constructed of Douglas-fir salvaged from a Hydro-Electric Plant along the Fox River near Appleton’s College Avenue bridge. Next door, the massive Board Room table is made of salvaged Rock Elm from a barn near Wausau, Wisconsin. In the Lobby, the large upholstered benches and the stair treads are from the Thomas Edison building. The Maple stair treads are milled to 4.5” thick, making them a striking feature of the lobby.
Photos courtesy of US Venture