Chippewa Area History Center

Posted By: David Paukner ACEC WI News, Awards,

2024 Engineering Excellence State Finalist

Entering Firm: CBS Squared Inc.
Client: Chippewa Historical Society

The Chippewa Historical Society was looking for a unique way to display the history of the region. The site’s restricted dimensions created space constraints for exhibits. Additionally, the pandemic disrupted supply chains and created design and construction difficulties.

A key challenge for CBS Squared’s design team was creating a 20,000 square foot building within a confined floodway site. The visionary solution included a strategic combination of a retaining wall to elevate the structure above the floodway line, precast panels, and structural steel. An innovative steel truss supports the third floor and roof truss structure, creating column-free gallery areas for added exhibit space.

The center's thoughtful planning and innovative design foster a seamless flow between exhibits, eliminating traditional hallways. Additional project highlights include a machine room-less traction elevator, a scenic lookout and a raised platform with pigmented concrete retaining walls. These design decisions enhanced flow through the displays and avoided mechanical eyesores.

Inspired by the local sawmill, the building pays homage to the past with elements mimicking the local design elements. The Chippewa Area History Center stands as a beacon for the community, reflecting a meaningful partnership that ensures the preservation of its rich heritage.

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