State Office Building

 © Photographed October 3, 2015
Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin
43° 4.343′ N, 89° 22.883′ W

Listed in
The State Register of
Historic Places
Designed by State Architect Arthur Peabody, the Wilson Street Office Building is an extraordinary representation of the Art Deco Style of architecture. Built in three separate stages, 1930, 1938 and 1959, the symmetrically massed structure has a granite facade with bas-relief Art Deco ornamentation. The first floor public hallways are adorned with bronze lamps, stylized floral ceiling borders and bronze letter boxes and directories. The lobby is decorated with Royal Red, Appalachian Fossil Gray, Appalachian Dark, Kesota Yellow, and Westfield marbles.
The marker is affixed to the northwest side of the State Office Building and is accessible from eastbound West Wilson Street, at its intersection with Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, at or near 1 West Wilson Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53703.

Wisconsin Historical Society: Architecture and History Inventory
1 West Wilson Street, Dane County, Madison
Historic Name: State Office Building
Reference Number: 28434

Additional Information:
Building was erected in three stages: The North Wing was finished in 1931, the center section in 1939 and the South Wing was completed in 1959; this contract was let in 1956. Initial construction cost was $850,000, central section was $1,832,000 and the south wing approximately $3.5 million.

A chunk of Gotham in downtown Madison, the State Office Building looks more massive than it actually is, thanks to its cubic form, gray granite walls, and soaring columns of windows, alternating with slender stone pilasters. The chunky set-backs and aggressive verticality are hallmarks of Art Deco design. So are the classical motifs, abstracted into geometric forms; notice the stylized torches belching terracotta flames atop the tall pilasters and the stylized shields and acanthus leaves studding the terracotta window spandrels. The two-story entrance, facing Wilson Street, makes for an especially impressive view: colossal Composite columns with fluted shafts frame the bronze doorway, cast with heavy detail and lighted by bronze lamps.

Inside, a rich palette of colored marble clads the two-story lobby. Terracotta fans, shells, and floral motifs border the coffered ceiling and paneled side walls, and a chevron pattern edges the hallways. The floor is patterned terrazzo: marble chips set in mortar, then polished.

The state architect designed the building in 1929. Construction took place in three stages, the first in 1930, but the second not for another eight years, when funding from the Public Works Administration enabled the financially strapped state to add the eleven-story tower and adjoining section of the east wing; the PWA, a New Deal agency, hired unemployed artists and construction workers for building projects all over the country. The building’s west wing was completed in 1956.
The foregoing content used with gracious permission of Wisconsin Historical Society.

 The marker is visible to the right.

 The marker affixed to the facade, and is visible in the distance,
above the round green shrub.

The marker (not visible in this photo) is affixed to the facade,
to the right of this entrance.
The marker and building are located in Madison, Wisconsin.

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