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Stark Investments (Harnischfeger Industries)

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1996–1997, Kahler Slater. 3600 S. Lake Dr.

As the 1990s bolstered the financial status of Harnischfeger Industries, the industrial giant built its world headquarters on Lake Michigan. The Postmodern design is composed of a tower and a sweeping wing, with bands of blue-tinted windows. Two lower lake-facing levels projecting from the wing provide cafeteria and meeting space. The five-story cylindrical tower with commanding lake views is filled with art-glass window screens by Stephen Knapp, who created abstracted designs of industrial processes. Knapp also designed a stainless steel and glass mobile of a bird that soars above the atrium entrance. The atrium’s wood-trimmed ceilings soften ambient noise and warm the corporate industrial interior.

Less than a year after the building’s completion, a takeover battle by Wisconsin toolmaker Giddings and Lewis, though ultimately a failure, financially weakened Harnischfeger. That, compounded by foundering Asian financial markets in the late 1990s, resulted in the cancellation of orders for the company’s paper-making machines, precipitated bankruptcy, and forced the company to divest itself of its showpiece.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Stark Investments (Harnischfeger Industries)", [Saint Francis, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 162-162.

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