Johnsen Schmaling Architects

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Johnsen Schmaling Architects is an architecture firm located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. The practice was founded in 2003 by Brian Johnsen and Sebastian Schmaling, who worked in the same office of another architectural firm. The office is located in a former shoe factory in the Brady Street district of Milwaukee.[1] The principals have described their design philosophy as "poetic realism."[2]

Notable Projects[edit]

  1. OS House, was recognized in 2011 as one of the top 10 residential projects in the United States by the American Institute of Architects.[3] The LEED Platinum-certified home was also named in 2011 as one of the top 10 green projects in the country by the AIA,[4][5][6] and in 2012 as one of 11 national winners in the Small Projects category.[7] The OS House has been featured in the New York Times.[8] The house, an example of 21st century modern architecture, is located on the shore of Lake Michigan in Racine's south side historic district.[9]
  2. Camouflage House is a rural house with a unique facade system, with a seemingly random sequence of vertical bands of black and white framing set against gray cedar siding, interspersed with floor-to-ceiling glass and colored panels. The L-shaped home is positioned between two rock outcroppings.[10][11]
  3. Ferrous House is a sustainable re-design of a suburban ranch, sitting in a row of unexceptional 1970′s ranches, part of a narrow subdivision hugging the edge of a wooded nature preserve west of Milwaukee.[12][13][14]
  4. Downtown Bar is a night club in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The 21-foot-high space occupies the ground level of a mixed-use development in the city’s Historic Third Ward. The central feature is a 7-foot-wide light ribbon that spans the two levels of the space.[15]
  5. Layton Pavilion is a connection from a large strip mall parking lot to a brownfield site.[16]
  6. Urban Infill 01 and 02: affordable prototypical houses for small urban lots.[17][18]
  7. Stacked Cabin is a small forest retreat based on the vertical stacking of components of traditional cabin compounds. The middle of the home is a living hub. In the sleeping and den areas, slender windows frame views of the surroundings. The third floor serves as an observatory, offering views of the surrounding forest and hills.[19][20]
  8. Studio for a Composer is a soundproof work space for a Country Western musician, with a small rehearsal room and underground storage space.[21][22][23][24]


Johnsen Schmaling Architects was named an Emerging Voice in 2008 by the Architectural League of New York,[25] and Architectural Record featured the office in its 2011 "Design Vanguard" issue as one of the world's most innovative architecture studios.[26] Residential Architect magazine, a publication of the American Institute of Architects, named Johnsen Schmaling Architects the 2012 "Top Firm."[27]


Johnsen Schmaling has received more than 60 professional design awards, among them four National AIA Housing Design Awards, six National AIA Small Project Honor Awards, and fourteen regional AIA Honor and Merit Awards.[28]


  1. ^ Randi Greenberg, "Blurring exteriors and interiors: Johnsen and Schmaling Architects", ArchRecord2, May, 2002.
  2. ^ Sebastian Schmaling, "An Architecture of Poetic Realism," OZ Magazine Vol.30 (The University of Kansas, 2008), pp. 27-33
  3. ^ Craig Nakano, "AIA names housing design award winners for 2011", Los Angeles Times, March 19, 2011.
  4. ^ Katie Weeks, "AIA COTE 2011 Top Ten Green Projects: OS House: A single-family residence in Racine, Wisc., designed by Johnsen Schmaling Architects:, Architect: The Magazine of the American Institute of Architects, April 12, 2011.
  5. ^ Mary Louise Schumacher, "Two of nation's top 10 green buildings in Wisconsin", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 14, 2011.
  6. ^ "Photos: OS House in Racine is one of Wisconsin's greenest homes", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, September 25, 2010.
  7. ^ Karissa Rosenfield, "AIA selects the 2012 Recipients of the Small Project Awards", ArchDaily, July 31, 2012.
  8. ^ Fred Bernstein, "A Box of Fresh Air", The New York Times, August 25, 2010.
  9. ^ David Steinkraus, "Modern squared: Main Street house boasts both modern architecture and green technologies", Racine Journal Times, August 27, 2010.
  10. ^ Ingrid Spencer, "Camouflage House", Architectural Record, July, 2007.
  11. ^ Alastair Gordon, "Hidden Value", The Wall Street Journal, September 5, 2008.
  12. ^ "Ferrous House / Johnsen Schmaling Architects", ArchDaily, August 13, 2009, Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  13. ^ David Sokol, "Ferrous House", GreenSource: The Magazine of Sustainable Design, January, 2012.
  14. ^ Brendan Crain, "Opened House", Dwell Magazine, December/January 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 02.
  15. ^ Josephine Minutillo, "Downtown Bar: Johnsen Schmaling Architects wraps its Downtown bar in a smoldering ribbon of light", Architectural Record, September, 2008.
  16. ^ Nick Ver Duin, "Milwaukee architects honored for EDGE house", WDEZ, May 26, 2011, Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  17. ^ Adam Mornament, New Houses for Urban Sites, London: Laurence King Publisheres, 2009, pp. 90-93
  18. ^ Meghan Drueding, "urban infill 02, milwaukee", Residental Architect: A Magazine of The American Institute of Architects, May 8, 2008.
  19. ^ Olivia Martin, "Stacked Cabin", Dwell, February, 2013.
  20. ^ Laura Raskin, "Stacked Cabin: Johnsen Schmaling Architects", Architectural Record, September, 2012.
  21. ^ Ann Harris "SPP Journal: Small Project Awards | Issue number 58 | Spring 2013", The American Institute of Architects, April 4, 2013.
  22. ^ Paul Deffenbaugh, "2012 Design Award -- Natural Metals", Metal Architecture, July 11, 2012.
  23. ^ "Studio for a Composer / Johnsen Schmaling Architects", ArchDaily, September 10, 2012, Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  24. ^ Norman Lebrecht, "A studio built for a composer", Slipped Disc: Norman Lebrecht on shifting sound worlds, April 13, 2013.
  25. ^ Architectural League of New York, "Johnsen Schmaling Architects", March 19, 2008.
  26. ^ Asad Syrkett, "An enterprising duo explores materials and context in a series of projects that make big statements on a small scale", Architectural Record, December 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  27. ^ Bruce Snider, 2012 Leadership Awards: Top Firm: Johnsen Schmaling Architects", Residential Architect: A Magazine of the American Institute of Architects, October 11, 2012.
  28. ^

External links[edit]