Project of the Year - Green Building

Holy Wisdom Monastery is the home of the Benedictine Women of Madison.

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Originally, the 130-acre site overlooking Lake Mendota consisted of two main buildings: the monastery and Benedict House, which was built in 1953 as a girls’ boarding school and closed in 1966.

In 1996, with the help of volunteers, the owner began a 10-year project of restoring 95 acres of farmland to prairie and then restored a glacial lake to its original size by dredging it of silt.

The owner concluded that the underutilized, 60,000-sq-ft Benedict House, with its high operating cost, needed to be replaced with a smaller, more energy efficient facility.

The original monastery would become their retreat and guest house.

The new facility was to be designed to effectively serve the owner’s mission and vision, to blend in with its surroundings and to achieve a LEED Platinum rating.

In March, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded the project 63 out of a possible 69 points, beating the previous LEED-New Construction record of 61 points.

This made Holy Wisdom Monastery the highest-rated LEED-NC building in the U.S.

Key Players

Developer/Owner: Benedictine Women of Madison, Madison, Wis.
GC: Hoffman LLC, Appleton, Wis.
Architect: Hoffman LLC, Appleton, Wis.
Civil Engineer: Montgomery Associates, Cottage Grove, Wis.
Structural Engineer: Larson Engineering, White Bear Lake, Minn.
MEP Engineer: Frederickson Engineering, Mequon, Wis.