THE ART INSTITUTE OF WISCONSIN (AI)Education
The Art Institute of Wisconsin (AI) a higher education school of the visual and practical arts is located at 320 E. Buffalo St. in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. Hunzinger served as general contractor for the expedited interior renovation of this industrial building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Engberg Anderson Architects were the project lead designers.
Hunzinger had just 17 weeks to transform 35,000 square feet of space for AI and an additional 15,000 square feet of reworked adjacent tenant space, common public spaces, and building utility/infrastructure space. The design played to the building’s strengths, mixing modern materials and finishes with its historic industrial character. The interior face of the concrete exterior walls was blasted to expose the original concrete. Floors required not just leveling, but infilling at long abandoned equipment locations. The mechanical system was replaced. Exterior alterations were designed and constructed to meet the requirements of the neighborhood’s Architectural Design Review Board including the windows and louvers and a third floor mechanical mezzanine. The result is a bright and inviting interior and a clean straight forward exterior that was completed ahead of schedule. The Art Institute even held an open house weeks in advance of their first fall semester.
I was asked to oversee the build-out of the Art Institute of Wisconsin, located in the P.H. Dye House building in the historic Third Ward of Milwaukee. This task required a multi-disciplined and fast acting General Contractor, capable of performing quality work in short order. When I had asked around locally for recommendations, including our landlord, Hunzinger Construction Company’s name continually came up.
These strong recommendations were followed and the project began in the spring of 2010. Early on I understood why Hunzinger was so valued by their previous customers. Their professionalism and ability to seamlessly complete their tasks with quality; in a fully operating building with residential tenants, without disruption to the tenants or businesses, made this fast pace project move to completion on schedule, under budget and without incident. They had a broad knowledge of all areas related to construction, offering many great solutions to issues that had arisen during the course of the project.
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