A $5,000 house? That’s what Allen Strang and Hamilton Beatty of Planning Associates were known for when they started their architectural firm 80 years ago. Their international-style dwellings — also known as the $5,000 house — brought the pair international acclaim in the architectural community for their progressive designs.
Beatty left the company in 1940 to begin a career in Detroit. After World War II, Allen Strang teamed up with Joe Weiler and renamed the business Weiler & Strang. This partnership took the company away from residential projects and advanced it into designing schools and churches. The Ray W. Huegel elementary school and Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, both on Madison’s West Side, are two examples.
From 1955 to 1965, the firm grew to 15 employees. Mechanical engineering capabilities were added and the firm began to work on more complex commercial and academic buildings. A longstanding working relationship with the state of Wisconsin was established during this time.
In 1964, Weiler & Strang designed the Numerical Analysis and Statistics building for UW-Madison, which was the first academic computer facility in the country. Also in 1964, the firm name changed to Weiler, Strang, McMullin & Associates. In 1971, the firm was called Strang Partners. In 1988, the name was changed to Strang Inc.
Larry Barton, 55, is president/CEO at Strang. He joined the firm in 1985 after working for his father’s construction business as a mason and carpenter. Barton became a registered architect in 1991 and was named president at Strang in 2009. He’s a LEED-certified architect who works with clients on project feasibility, cost analysis, master planning and project management.
One of Strang’s most pivotal projects was the 1983 renovation of Birge Hall for UW-Madison. This project — which involved laboratories and classrooms for the study of photobiology, mycology, physiology and behavioral ecology — helped position Strang for work with the private biotechnology industry, Barton explained.
Shortly after the Birge Hall project was completed, Promega, a Madison-based molecular bio research and development firm, commissioned Strang to design its new headquarters. In 1994, Strang designed the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center for Promega.
Strang has been involved in the design of many area projects including Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall and Pavilions, American Player’s Theatre, Madison Area Technical College (also known as Madison College), Weston Place, City Center West, Covance, MG&E Innovation Center and Electronic Theatre Controls.
Strang is currently working on several projects including the UW-Madison School of Music performance center and the UW-Madison chemistry building addition and renovation.
Originally located in Downtown Madison, Strang has moved to larger offices over the years. The firm moved to its current location in 1987. A second location opened in downtown Chicago in 2012.
Architects, engineers and interior designers are among Strang’s staff. The company also offers a variety of services including building commissioning, building information modeling, lighting design and master planning.
While building houses may have been among the company’s first projects, now it focuses on four primary markets: higher education, corporate campuses, science and technology, and the arts.
“Strang has also focused on its role as a steward of the built environment and its responsibility to protect our earth. Maintaining a dedication to sustainable practices has become part of our company culture,” Barton said.
Giving back to the community is also important to the staff at Strang.
They support several organizations including the Madison Metropolitan School District, Keep Wisconsin Warm Fund and Special Olympics with time, talent and contributions.