September 14, 2001: Headlines: COS - Honduras: Architecture: Milwaukee Business Journal: Architect Harry Van Oudenallen enlisted in the Peace Corps and spent two years in Honduras

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Honduras: Peace Corps Honduras: The Peace Corps in Honduras: September 14, 2001: Headlines: COS - Honduras: Architecture: Milwaukee Business Journal: Architect Harry Van Oudenallen enlisted in the Peace Corps and spent two years in Honduras

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Architect Harry Van Oudenallen enlisted in the Peace Corps and spent two years in Honduras

Architect Harry Van Oudenallen enlisted in the Peace Corps and spent two years in Honduras

Architect Harry Van Oudenallen enlisted in the Peace Corps and spent two years in Honduras

UWM profs go for `modern' look
Kelly Quigley

Caption: Banana Worker Housing, La Lima, Honduras designed by RPCV Harry Van Oudenallen. This project responds to the devastation caused by Hurricane Gilbert to the entire banana-growing region of Honduras in 1988. The architect was commissioned to design a pilot community, including 6,000 housing units, for banana-field and plant workers. This ongoing, phased project lays out the schematic infrastructure of neighborhoods, streets, schools, civic structures, religious buildings, and parks. “The architect really stepped up to create a very large vision for the community,” the jury opined. “If there is any doubt about the potential influence and power of Wisconsin architects, it has been put to rest with their ability to influence something on this scale in Honduras.”

Two professors at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's School of Architecture & Urban Planning are tackling major local and international design projects through their burgeoning firm Arquitectura Inc.

Principals Harry Van Oudenallen, 57, and Nicolas Cascarano, 39, founded Arquitectura Inc. in 1996, after working together informally on retail and residential projects.

Arquitectura has continued to grow, and moved in July from cramped quarters in Milwaukee's 3rd Ward to larger offices at 1200 E. Capitol Drive in Shorewood.

The new location is closer to UWM, where Van Oudenallen is a full-time professor and Cascarano is an adjunct professor. Van Oudenallen works part-time at Arquitectura, while Cascarano devotes the majority of his days to the company.

Their local projects include designing a seven-unit luxury condominium that developer Tim Olson has planned for 1725 N. Palmer St., north of downtown Milwaukee; and a 68-unit condominium project that Mandel Group Inc. will develop at the corner of North Humboldt Avenue and East Garfield Street in the Brewers Hill neighborhood. Both of the projects feature modern-looking, multistory condominiums with many windows.

Arquitectura also is designing Port Washington's new City Hall and recently finished designing a large-scale remodeling and addition to a River Hills home that will be featured on Home & Garden Television's Before & After program in October. The River Hills property is being transformed from a drab 1,700-square-foot ranch-style home to a sprawling 5,700-square-foot modern home.

"They (HGTV) have been filming it for a year," Van Oudenallen says.

Van Oudenallen suggested the cable television network highlight the project when work first began in mid-1999. HGTV became interested in the renovation because of the drastic before-and-after change, and because much of the design and construction work was being done by minorities.

The home's owner, Al Laster, is black, and made a point of hiring mostly minority contractors.

"People never get the impression that minorities are involved in these kinds of projects," says Van Oudenallen.

He and Cascarano met a decade ago through mutual friends. They quickly learned they shared a passion for creative architecture and started collaborating on retail design projects, such as the Footgear shoe store in The Grand Avenue in downtown Milwaukee, and Marangelli's Al Lago restaurant in the Firstar Center, also downtown.

While both earned their college degrees and launched their careers in the United States, neither are natives of this country.

Van Oudenallen, 57, was born in the Netherlands and grew up in Singapore and Argentina before moving to the United States in the 1960s. After graduating from Harvard University with a degree in architecture, Van Oudenallen was drafted to play football for the Miami Dolphins. Instead of pursuing an athletic career, he enlisted in the Peace Corps and spent two years in Honduras.

Van Oudenallen later moved to Eugene, Ore., to earn a master's degree in architecture at the University of Oregon and start a career in construction. After determining his true calling is teaching, he became a professor at UWM in 1979. UWM is in a large enough city that he could also practice architecture, he says.

Cascarano, a native of Venezuela, moved to the United States in the 1980s to attend Rock Valley Community College in Rockford, Ill. He finished up his undergraduate degree and earned a master's degree in architecture at UWM. He went on to work for large Milwaukee-area firms including Engberg Anderson Design Partnership Inc., Milwaukee, and Kubala Washatko Architects Inc., Cedarburg.

Arquitectura also has one part-time designer and soon will be hiring two more part-timers.

"We don't want to grow too large," Van Oudenallen says. "That's when it becomes more about business rather than art."

Despite its small size, Arquitectura takes on weighty projects around the country and the world.

The company's resume includes designing Japanese restaurants in Columbus, Ohio, and Venice Beach, Calif.; upscale homes in Venezuela; and community developments in Honduras.

"We're always looking to take on more international projects," says Cascarano.

Both men have ties to construction and development industries in other countries, particularly in Latin America. Arquitectura just finished a major design project for Chiquita Brands Inc. The company designed housing, schools, and other community buildings for more than 6,000 workers of a Chiquita banana farm in La Lima, Honduras. The workers' previous housing was destroyed by a tornado and had to be rebuilt.

The design is now being finalized by Chiquita officials and may be applied to Chiquita's seven other Latin American banana farms, Van Oudenallen says.

In each of the past four years, Arquitectura has tripled its annual revenue, according to Van Oudenallen. This year he's projecting at least $400,000 in revenue.

He and Cascarano are planning a future of controlled, but continuous, growth.

The company isn't interested in designing just one type of building, but wants to deal with many different projects, including schools, homes and retail.

"If there's an opportunity for good design, we'd like to do it," Van Oudenallen says.

The company devotes a lot of time entering design competitions and vying for architectural awards. As a result, it has an extensive list of honors received from the American Institute of Architects, the city of Milwaukee, and other organizations.

"It's a way to keep tabs on how we're doing as architects," Van Oudenallen says.

© 2001 American City Business Journals Inc.

When this story was posted in January 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Milwaukee Business Journal

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Honduras; Architecture



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