Lucille honored with AIA Wisconsin Award

OPN’s design of Lucille, the popular pizzeria and nightclub in the heart of Madison’s Capitol Square District, received a Merit Award from AIA Wisconsin at a ceremony during the annual convention in Madison on May 17.

OPN Architects transformed the century-old brick building at the intersection of King and Pickney Streets, the apex of one of Madison’s signature triangular blocks that form a ring around the city’s downtown capitol square, into the 8,000-plus-square-foot bar and pizzeria, which opened in May 2015. Restaurateurs Patrick Sweeney and Joshua Berkson, who also own the popular Merchant restaurant on the same block, describe the space as “an indoor/outdoor, double-decker, hi-fi American pizza venue.”

The jury called the the transformation “impressive.”

The adaptive reuse and restoration of this iconic historic building into an open, transparent, welcoming, and energetic restaurant has revitalized a significant corner at Madison’s city center by drawing people into the space and becoming a focal point for the Capitol Square and the entire entertainment district. Originally a 1900s-era bank, multiple renovations throughout its 100-year history sacrificed the characteristics that were originally a hallmark of the historic building. Historically a gateway connector between the King Street neighborhood and the Capitol Square, as the building changed owners it was used primarily for business, most recently offices for the Isthmus newspaper, and failed to keep up with the neighborhood’s evolution into a vibrant entertainment district.

“The architect for this project did something absolutely marvelous by opening up the restaurant to it’s surroundings,” one juror said.

The design marries a relaxed Wisconsin and vintage punk vibe, celebrating the building’s history through soulful reclaimed and modern materials, restoring the connection to the capital square and re-establishing it as a gateway to the neighborhood.

“It’s a serious renovation that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not afraid to have fun, yet it never stops being smart.”

Lucille was also honored by InBusiness magazine with a 2017 Commercial Design Award and by the Wisconsin Chapter International Interior Design Association with a 2017 Award of Excellence