Department Of Military Affairs Army Reserve Center

Project Number: #06E1B

Art Budget: $89,000 (Expected to cover all design and fabrication expenses associated with the project.)

Application/Image Deadline: Deadline has passed; for reference only

Eligibility Criteria: All artists from Arts Midwest region are eligible to apply 

(Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin)

Art Schedule

Design Due: Spring 2010

Installation: TBD; pending location

Building Completion: April 2011

Architects: HSR Associates, La Crosse, WI


The Department of Military Affairs​

The mission of the Reserve components of the Armed Forces is to provide fully capable citizen-Soldiers, citizen-Sailors and Airmen prepared to deploy anywhere, at any time, to support assigned missions. The federal mission is to provide trained units in time of war or national emergency, as directed by the President of the United States of America. The state mission of the Wisconsin Army National Guard is to assist civil authorities in protecting life and property, and in preserving peace, order and public safety during emergencies, as directed by the governor of the State of Wisconsin.

The guard/reserve has answered the nation's call in every war the nation has ever fought. Today's guardsmen and reservists are highly trained professionals who share their civilian skills with the military and their military skills with the community. In many respects, it is the most egalitarian part of the entire US military and is a bridge between the average citizen and the military. The only interaction between many of our nation's citizens and the military are the guard and reserve members that they encounter during their everyday lives.

Today the guard and reserve serve as an operational reserve for the active duty military. They perform the same missions as their active duty counterparts and are held to the same standards and expectations when deployed to a theater of operations. They are as much of a Soldier, Sailor or Marine as anyone who is on active duty. However, due to their being part of the guard and reserve, they live in the community and stand ready to serve that community when it is in need -- whether that be in their particular town, somewhere else in the state or in a different state altogether. Just as our various communities in our nation have become more interconnected, so has the guard/reserve's ability to serve beyond its immediate community expanded. Such a commitment requires great sacrifice on the part of the service-member, the family, the civilian employer and the community. It is a partnership in which all contribute and support each other.

Historically, the traditional guard and reserve unit drew virtually all of its members from the local community where its armory was located. This is still the case in many respects, but today's increased responsibilities also have brought greater opportunities for service-members. They have a wider range of career opportunities and many have the ability and desire to travel to where their particular skills are needed. Also, the military as a whole is evolving and the numbers and types of units are constantly changing to meet our nation's needs. Vibrant organizations with motivated people accept and adapt to such change.

The composition of the Reserve components is authorized by the Department of Defense. The federal government provides arms and ammunition, equipment and uniforms, major training facilities, pay for military and support personnel, and training and supervision. Reserve components housed in the new AFRC will include seven units of the United States Army Reserve totaling 290 Soldiers; G Company, 24th United States Marine Corps Reserve Battalion, 182 Corpsmen; 260 Navalmen of the United States Navy Reserve; and five Units of the Wisconsin Army National Guard as well as Field Maintenance Shop #9, for a total of approximately 190 Guardsmen. Total number of assigned personnel at the new AFRC and FMS/OMS is, therefore, 920 Reservists.

This construction project is a result of several unit realignments and the closing of several outdated service branch bases. The new building will be the home base for the Wisconsin National Guard and space will be leased to the US Army, Marine Corp and Naval Reserves. 


Facility Location

The location of the new Armed Forces Reserve Center is in the general proximity of the intersection of State Highway 51 and Interstate 90/94, east of Truax airfield in Madison’s Business Park development. The project site is approximately 31 acres with a slope from the main access road on the north down to a public access strip to the east. The site is divided by a drainage swale/easement that creates a natural separation which allows the larger AFRC and associated site development to occupy the larger southern part of the site and the smaller Field Maintenance Shop (FMS)/Organizational Maintenance Shop (OMS) facility and associated site development to occupy the smaller northern part of the site.


The Facility 

The AFRC is a two level structure of approximately 150,000 square feet. The lower level includes an assembly (drill) hall, food service area, locker rooms, classrooms, weapons simulator room, equipment and materiél storage areas, weapons vaults, and ready bays for the Wisconsin Army National Guard (WIARNG) 54th Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Civil Support Team. This level is accessed at grade primarily from the lower east and north sides of the site. The upper level includes administrative offices for all Reserve components. Common use spaces include an auditorium, classrooms, and recruiting offices. This level is accessed at grade on the higher west side of the site and main public entrance to the facility. The FMS/OMS is a single level vehicle maintenance shop for repairing and maintaining vehicles for the WIARNG (FMS) and United States Army Reserve (USAR OMS). The 28,000 square feet building includes vehicle maintenance bays, warm-up bays, classroom, offices, equipment storage, tool room, and ancillary spaces.​


  • Floor: Poured reinforced concrete slab-on-grade with vapor barrier. Finishes will be a combination of sealed or polished concrete in industrial areas, resilient flooring, porcelain tile and/or carpet in other areas as applicable.
  • Roof Construction: steel columns, beams, bar joists, metal deck, insulation board, and adhered membrane roofing. We intend to utilize skylights in a considerate way to help with day-lighting at the interior of the open office areas.
  • Exterior walls: Brick veneer with insulated cavity wall/rain screen construction with concrete masonry unit back-up and in many locations insulation, furring and gypsum board at t Exterior design is a combination of two tones of brick, and precast concrete horizontal and vertical accent elements. Entrances, stair towers, and choice other elements are used to enhance way-finding by changing scale and color, and also serve to break up the long expanses of elevation. Parapet elements are also incorporated to aesthetically break up the long elevations and add visual cues and interest around the perimeter.
  • Glazing will be a combination of vision and day-lighting glass with special accents. We will try to utilize special glass or light shelves to increase light penetration towards the interior of open office areas. Glazing will have some level of blast protection.
  • Interior partitions: Primarily metal stud and painted drywall. Corridors will be painted concrete masonry units or burnished block.
  • Ceilings: Suspended acoustical tile, drywall, or exposed structure.
  • Finish ceiling heights are 9'-0", to 10'-6" in open office areas (for day-lighting), and exposed structure in the Assembly Hall, 24 feet high.


The Site

Vehicle access to the site will be from Manufacturers’ Drive. The upper level “at-grade” entry drive will access a POV (privately owned vehicle) parking lot for 150 vehicles. The main entrance to the upper level AFRC will be from this parking area and includes space for a monument to the services in a prominent location. The drive continues down to the lower level POV parking lot for 300 vehicles. A second access drive is for service vehicles that access the building loading area and crosses over the drainage swale to access the FMS/OMS military vehicle parking areas. Two small outdoor break areas are being developed, one outside the drill hall and the other outside the lecture hall and classrooms.



This facility serves a very specific audience: the members of the various military service branches and their family members.

Conceptual Considerations

Since several military services will be using the building, artwork that is broad or universal enough to be relevant to all military service branches is desired. Artwork addressing the following concepts will be considered favorably. Artwork that:

  • Unity among the various branches; unity toward service to the US. All military branches serve and protect the United States.
  • A general patriotic theme; however the selection committee is not interested in stereotypical or heavy-handed representations or symbols of patriotism.
  • The commonalties among the various branches of military service.
  • Is not service specific due to the transience of units and service; the current occupants may not be occupants of this facility in the future.
  • Serves, as an ambassador—the artwork needs to be appealing and accessible to non-arts people.
  • Is complex enough to allow viewers to learn from it over time and provide a sense of discovery.

Potential Locations​

The selection committee is interested in artwork that is respectful of the building’s physical functions. Since the building’s spaces may be reconfigured for different uses over time, artwork that would lessen this flexibility is not desired. They are interested in artwork that may be sited in both interior and exterior spaces and/or integrated with existing architectural elements. Pending the location of the artwork, portions of the construction budget may be accessed to support the cost of the artwork.

Interior locations:

Potential sites for interior artwork would include the main Lobby on the upper level and the Drill Hall on the lower level. The Lobby area will be used to display historical or Unit artifacts and awards, will be used as a waiting area for potential recruits and will be the main entry for the public and family members when visiting the building.

The Drill Hall provides space for troop formations/inspections, dining, and large group assemblies for instructional training. It also serves as a gathering place for social functions that include Unit families, for Unit ceremonies and also as a place of refuge in case of natural disaster. The 24 foot high ceiling in this space creates large wall areas for mounting artwork or suspending artwork from the steel roof structural framework.

The selection committee is interested the following interior locations:

  1. Glass treatments in the west lobby tower. [ image ]
  2. Glass treatments between the Drill Hall and the central corridor. [ image ]
  3. Glass treatment of the Drill Hall ceiling skylights. [ image ]
  4. Aerial artwork/s suspended in front lobby towers. [ image ] [ image ]

Potential Exterior Sites for Artwork:

There are three potential sites for exterior artwork that border the upper level parking area, the main entry walk and entry drives and offer varying exposures for public viewing. In addition, given the facility’s proximity to the Madison Airport, artists should be aware that the artwork may easily be viewed from the air/sky. The selection committee is interested the following exterior locations:

  1. Artist designed picket fencing on sections of the perimeter fence. This fencing must meet security requirements. [ image ]
  2. The lawn area inside second gate area; on the right side of main entry walk. This could be an earthwork, a functional gathering or garden area. This area is approximately 100 x 100 ft. [ image ]
  3. The far right side of main entry (near south drive), at the upper level; this is approximately 140 x 140 ft. [ image ]
  4. The area left of main entry walk, at the upper level, approximately 50 x 50 ft. [ image ]

Potential Materials

Artwork that is electrically powered by or transmits signals (radio or lights, etc) of any kind will not be considered. The selection committee is not interested in artwork that utilizes technology. Further discussion about possible materials focused on the desire for permanent, durable, low maintenance materials. Materials that support the artist’s concept are desired.