Landmarks Commission

4:30 p.m., Monday, October 6, 1986
Room G-10, Madison Municipal Building




Members: Mr. Englund, Mr. Sewell, Mrs. Mohs (Chair), Ald. Lufler; Mr. Alexander and Mr. Rifken arrived during the meeting.

Guests: Mr. David Lehrer, Mr. Tim Anderson, Mr. James Dillard, Mr. James Lynch, Mr. George Dahir, Mr. Charles Bauer, Mr. Beckwith, Mr. Val Dunis.


E. 37 N. Roby Road - review of building permit for new single family residence

Mr. Dunis, the architect for this project, said that he had several goals in mind when he designed this house. Besides the owners' requirements, he also wanted the house to be compatible contextually with the University Heights district and the immediate neighbors, he wanted the house to have a lively volumetric articulation, and he wanted it to be very energy efficient.

He said that the lot was unusual because it creates a house with two fronts. The setback was calculated to be the mean between the adjacent properties on both fronts. The house would be 2-1/2 stories high. The northern section of the three-part house would be the formal area, with the living room, etc. The central section was planned as a connecting circulation gallery, and the southern section was the informal, everyday zone. The design featured fine, interconnected volumes, steeply pitched roofs, gables, bay windows, freestanding chimneys and an inset colonnade, all seen on other University Heights houses. It would also include an apse-shaped solarium and an arbor at the east side entrance.

The entire composition sits on a wide base, intended to counterbalance the verticality of the design. Also to counteract the vertical expression, some of the brick would be banded with a different colored brick. On the larger projecting pavilions, the bands would be two feet apart and on the smaller projections they would be eight inches apart. He noted that such alternating brick colors have been used throughout architectural history, including several buildings remaining in Madison, and the Cathedral in Orvieto. He said that he and his clients had not decided on the colors of the brick but were leaning toward a colonial terra-cotta for most of the brick, with the bands in a somewhat reflective violet. He said the value of the two colors would be similar. The materials for the base had not been finalized, but they were thinking of a tinted concrete, perhaps marked with a grid or horizontal lines, or a stucco or a concrete block. Some tile might be used for ornament. He noted that most of the windows would be clear glass, but that for the large apse and some other windows he was thinking about using a mirrored glass block.

He concluded by noting that University Heights was one of the most humanly scaled neighborhoods in the city, and its beauty derived largely from the eclectic assemblage of styles found there, some more memorable than others. He added that the buildings that stood out for their quality had a purity of expression and he was aiming for this in his proposed design. Then he repeated the portion of the Landmarks Commission's ordinance that encourages contemporary architectural expression.

Mr. Sewell said that in the final design, he would like to see how the height of the proposed building would compare to surrounding houses. He said that it was hard to visualize how the proposed materials would look and suggested that a color rendering be submitted. He said that he likes post-modern design, but the style can have the potential to stick out, rather than blend in a neighborhood. He asked if the window frames would match the color of the building, to which Mr. Dunis replied that they would. He suggested that samples of the actual brick be brought in when final approval was requested because he had some concerns about the effects of the proposed banding. He said that he was worried about how the neighbors would receive the idea of mirrored glass, since it has a tendency to be quite blinding at times. Mr. Alexander said that the massing and scale of the building appeared to relate quite well with the rest of the neighborhood, but he was a bit worried about the number of variations in materials and color. Mr. Englund agreed and said he was also unsure about the use of mirrored glass blocks.

Ald. Lufler asked if the neighbors had been consulted yet, to which Mr. Dunis replied that they hadn't. Mr. Englund said that he thought the safest approach may be to go through the variance procedure in order to notify the surrounding property owners, but the need for this will depend on the materials selected. Mr. Alexander moved that the Landmarks Commission preliminarily approve the massing and scale of the building, with the understanding that the materials and final details will be reviewed at a later date. Ald. Lufler seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. Mr. Sewell noted that the materials are exceedingly important in determining whether or not a building will be compatible with the district.

4:30 P. M. Monday, April 20, 1987
Room G-10, Madison Municipal Building


Members Present: Mr. Alexander, Mr. Englund, Ald. Lufler, Mrs.Mohs (chairman)and Mr. Rifken.

Guests: Ms. Kirsten Margitan, Ms. Laurie Miller, Ms. Carol Crossan, Mr. Russell Pitzner, Mr. David Chandler, Mr. Charles Beckwith, Mr. James Montgomery, Mr. Scott Minter, Mr. Chuck Bauer, Ald. Eve Galanter and Ms. Janice Durand.


C. 1833 Van Hise Avenue (also known as 37 N. Roby Road) - Review of building permit for new single-family residence

Mr. Bauer, the owner of the property, noted that the materials for the new building would be a smooth architectural brick in two tones, putty gray and soft cream. He said the intent of the two colors was to create a subtle striation that would counterpoint the verticality of the design. He noted that there would be garden walls on the north and southwest sides of the lot and a stepped garden wall on the south. Although the plans originally called for the garden walls to be stucco, they now wished to use the putty color brick with cast stone copings of cream color. The lintels on the house would also be cream colored cast stone.

Ald. Galanter noted that Mr. Bauer had postponed the Landmarks Commission's consideration of his project in order to allow time for the neighbors to have a meeting to look at the plans. She said that of the 28 neighbors who had been invited to the meeting, only three showed up and they were generally impressed with the proposal. She said that it appeared that the original objection from some neighbors had to do with the many zoning variances requested for the first design. Since the project had been redesigned to fit within the zoning envelope, she had received no calls in opposition to the project. She said the only concern she had heard was with the height of the garden walls.

Mr. Russ Pitzner then asked to speak. He said that he moved into his house at 1846 Summit last summer. He noted that he had attended the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting and opposed the zoning variances. He said that the lot has historically been an integral part of the property associated with the Charles N. Brown house, constructed in 1916. He noted that Brown was a key son in the development of the Madison Parks and Pleasure Drive Assn. and was a curator of the State Historical Society. Brown was so important that his death in 1925 made the front pages of the Capital Times and the Wisconsin State Journal. He said that the lot had been in the same ownership as the Brown house for 71 years and that it appeared that the original owner used it as a garden and never had any intentions of selling it. He said that he believed that the citizens of Madison should show their gratitude toward Brown and his contribution to Madison by not building on the lot. He suggested that perhaps the neighbors could purchase it for a park. Ald. Galanter replied to that suggestion by noting that last year a group of neighbors did meet with the Parks Department to consider purchasing the lot for a park. They concluded that it would be too expensive and also that teenagers visiting a park at night sometimes disturb the surrounding neighborhood.

Ald. Lufler replied to Mr. Pitzner's concerns by noting that the Landmarks Commission's powers in reviewing such projects were limited. He said that the Commission had already discussed in some detail the massing and scale of the building and that the major consideration of today's meeting was the materials. He noted that since the original plans were submitted, the materials had been changed dramatically to meet the concerns of the Landmarks Commission. He then moved that the Landmarks Commission grant a certificate of appropriateness for the project, seconded by Mr. Rifken. Mr. Bauer assured Mr. Englund that the materials proposed reflected the final decision and that if for some reason there were changes in the materials, they would return to the Landmarks Commission. The motion to approve the project passed unanimously.

4:30 P.m., Monday, September 19, 1988
Room G-10, Madison Municipal Building


Members Present: Mr. Alexander, Ald. Lufler, Mrs. Mohs,
Mr. Rifken, Mr. Godding, and Mr. Skaggs.

Guests: Mr. John Martens, Mr. Roger Klopp, Mr. William Hertford, Mr. John Bremer, Mr. Roger Minahan, and Mr. Bob Foulks.


A. 1833 Van Hise Avenue - Review of changes in plans for construction of new house

Ms. Rankin reported that the owners would like to install a rectangular asphalt shingle roof rather than the cooper roof originally planned due to the cost of copper. Some decorative bays and smaller roof areas will still be copper. Also there have been some minor changes in the sizes and shapes of windows and the landscaping plan has been simplified. Mr. Martens, the construction supervisor for the project, noted that the lintels and sills will be pre-cast concrete with cross-hatched decoration. On a motion by Ald. Lufler, seconded by Mr. Godding, the Landmarks Commission unanimously approved the changes.

Bauer and Beckwith Residence