Nō Studios, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
According to their website, “NŌ STUDIOS is a workspace and social environment for creatives and lovers of art. We are an inclusive community dedicated to the celebration of craftsmanship in all of its forms including visual art, film, spoken word, dance, poetry, writing, music, and design.”
The mission of Nō Studios is to Socialize With Purpose. According to co-founder, John Ridley, “the desire is to create a collaborative workspace and social community that offers an environment for artists and art lovers to come together.”
The proposed site had a variety of former uses, such as a wagon wheel manufacturing facility for Pabst Brewery. Pabst Brewery Research & Development also found a home here, as did Cardinal Stritch College. The project included rehabilitating the entire building, keeping in mind the state-of-the-art audio and visual demands of the prospective tenants and performers.
Abacus Architects faced many challenges when they undertook this endeavor. High expectations for high-end modern design, along with adhering to the Historical Preservation Commission’s guidelines, invigorated Abacus. They collaborated with Scathain on custom metal, glass and wood features throughout, and with Everick Brown Design for furniture and accessories.
This building is the epitome of Relational Architecture. “It was an amazing experience, having such creative clients,” commented Design Architect, Eric Halbur. “It really brought the best out of Abacus and developed solid, long-term relationships with very talented people. What more could we ask for?”
The new space, located in Block #6 of The Brewery District, was designed with the goal to create an exciting and unique work environment. There are four floors consisting of tenant space, lounge areas, a screening room, stage & presentation space, conference & huddle rooms, two café bars, event space and a rooftop deck, featuring incredible views of the city. There are also co-working areas that are currently used by UW-Milwaukee, Marquette University, 88.9 Radio Milwaukee and other various art startups.
The name Nō Studios is derived from 能 Nō, the Sino-Japanese root word for “skill” or “talent.” The level of talent residing under this roof is impressive. Nō Studios hosts a community of tenants representing many areas of Milwaukee-based arts organizations. Some of these include Independent Studios, Duncan Entertainment Group, and Milwaukee Film.