In an effort to transform an iconic Brookfield retail structure into a dynamic, but atypical, suburban office, the owners of the MLG Capital, transformed a 1980s grocery store into a unique corporate headquarters. While the existing building featured a large greenhouse, the previous grocer’s use of the building lacked windows and as such created an opportunity to add over 30 exterior fenestration openings to bring natural light into all of the interior space. While the site lacked greenspace, their desire to maintain physical and visual connectivity to the outside was a prerequisite for MLG Capital. As a result, a large former pallet storage area along Bluemound Rd was transformed into a screened patio space to promote social interaction among the employees as well as serving as an extension of the adjacent indoor employee lounge/entertainment area.
The greenhouse, now “atrium”, serves as an avant-garde entrance into the new headquarters facility. As you enter the building through the glass covered space, a bocce ball court sets the tone for a work/play atmosphere. The natural stone wall and wood ceilings help to create a warm, inviting entrance for visitors. As you move through the interior, most of the space is dedicated to a large open office area with smaller collaboration areas, surrounded by perimeter offices with large windows to bring in the natural light. To emphasize the company’s transparency to visitors, each office has a fully glassed-in front wall. Adjacent to the open office area, there is an extra-large employee lounge that allows the space to be used for work, eating lunch, or playing shuffle board, billiards, ping-pong or pinball. Together the lounge, atrium and patio have allowed entertaining over 300 people at a time comfortably.
When the Wisconsin weather is cooperating, there are large garage doors that bring an abundance of natural light and fresh air to the lounge. Good weather also allows employees to use the outdoor patio area that is partially screened with cedar fencing to match the timbered ceiling indoors. For cooler weather, the atrium is heated to create a comfortable play area that is visually open to the outdoors. For the interior finishes, all existing cedar ceilings were maintained with exposed spiral ductwork and pendant mounted lights to provide overhead visual interest. The flooring compliments the existing materials and helps to tie the entire space together with varying patterns, complimentary colorways, and dissimilar material selections to help flow through the space, based on room usage. Even though this building is in the suburbs, the interior design, collaboration spaces and unique amenities create a work environment that is normally found in areas like the Third Ward. On Bluemound Rd, however, the complex enjoys high visibility from 33,000 cars a day and abundant parking right outside the front door.