Memorial Union – Lakefront Cafeteria

University of Wisconsin – Madison

The Lakefront on Langdon Cafe is nestled into the northeast corner of the University of Wisconsin’s vibrant Memorial Union – a social, recreational and entertainment hub for the University and for much of the City of Madison. Strang completed a study to determine how best to restore the Lakefront’s operations to profitability, and designed the renovation of this space. Outdated service capabilities, poor visibility of and access to the serving area entrance, elimination of a pre-paid meal plan option and an overall rundown appearance were significant contributors to the severe decline in business activity in its last ten years. Following an extensive re-design by Strang, Inc., the 12,000 square foot Lakefront Cafe has been completely rejuvenated. The facility introduces several exciting dining concepts that are new to the Union, and accommodates conferences and receptions for up to 370 people.

The new design is inspired by Art Deco and Art Modern styles found in the building’s 1939 theater wing; it’s contemporary and sophisticated without being trendy. The opening of the dining space allows views out to Lake Mendota, while reoccurring natural images of clouds, sand, sunbursts, trees, sailboats, and waves create an imaginative metaphorical link to the Union Terrace.

A new terrazzo floor is inlaid with glistening brass Union imagery, mother-of-pearl and colored glass. Structural columns that once were visual barriers are now wrapped in wood and thoughtfully integrated into the design as symbols of trees and nature.

Madison, WI

University of Wisconsin – Madison

12,000 SF

Construction Type: