State Street is a reflection of the City of Madison’s diversity and vibrant lifestyle, and it is a destination for residents and visitors alike. The corridor travels eight blocks, connecting the University of Wisconsin to the Wisconsin State Capitol, formalizing the connection between ‘town and gown’ that is so important to the City. The renovation of the 700 and 800 blocks of State Street embodied the spirit of the City in a urban open space that boasts shared platforms for public speech, street performance spaces, and special events.
The design team worked diligently to preserve the cherished elements of the existing streetscape and Library Mall but placed an equal emphasis on restoring views to many of the City’s most iconic features, including the Wisconsin State Capitol, Bascom Hill, Lake Mendota and UW-Madison’s East Campus Mall which had been all but lost over years of piece-meal renovation and encroachment by outdated site features.
The design outcome was a unified, integrated public plaza that still provides spaces for ad-hoc performance and pontificating but adds an elegant and timeless character through custom seating, integrated accent lighting, movable tables and chairs, custom bar-height tables, plantings, and integrated public art.
The strengths of this project build upon the key attributes of the entire State Street reconstruction, a series of projects spanning over ten years, by facilitating community involvement and consensus building, retaining a pedestrian focus and utilizing simple, timeless materials. Saiki Design was part of a multi-disciplinary team responsible for planning, design, and final construction documents for this iconic and award-winning project.