johnsen schmaling architects, milwaukee

The Case Study Houses of the mid-20th century continue to serve as architectural touchstones, even in settings utterly unlike their original sun-drenched sites. In Milwaukee, they've helped inspire a series of moderately priced infill houses designed by Brian Johnsen, AIA, and Sebastian Schmaling, AIA. “We're trying to reinterpret the Case Study homes' exploration of materials and of creating space, but in a more urban context,” Johnsen explains.

The second home in the series, Urban Infill 02, consists of an interlocking two-story cube and one-story bar unified by a steel second-floor trellis. The architects used a standard 2-foot module to cut costs and minimize construction waste, and they specified inexpensive materials such as okoume plywood cladding for the cube and concrete block for the bar. Placement of the home's windows and fiber-cement louvers can vary according to site conditions, and the horizontal bar can be extended or moved, depending on the buyer's preference.

“This project uses restraint,” one judge noted. “Its elegant proportions are to the scale of the human body.”

principals in charge / project architects / interior designers: Brian Johnsen, AIA, and Sebastian Schmaling, AIA, Johnsen Schmaling Architects
developer / general contractor: Marty Radocha, T.R. Martin Builders, Milwaukee
project size: 1,575 square feet
site size: 0.1 acre
construction cost: $84 per square foot
sales price: $239,900
photography: John McCauley

product specs
bathroom and kitchen plumbing fittings and fixtures:Kohler Co.; bathroom and kitchen cabinets:KraftMaid Cabinetry; countertops:CaesarStone USA; dishwasher, oven, range, refrigerator:General Electric Co.; entry and interior doors:Western Door; exterior siding:Roseburg Forest Products; flooring (vinyl):Armstrong World Industries; garage doors:Clopay Building Products; garbage disposer:KitchenAid; hardware:Schlage Lock Co.; hvac equipment:Lennox International; insulation:Owens Corning; paints/stains:Benjamin Moore & Co.; patio doors, windows:Eagle Window & Door; sheathing:Georgia-Pacific Building Products; structural lumber: Weyerhaeuser Co. (iLevel)