Daniel Wicke

Bachelor of Arch/Interior Arch: 2007

Danny holds a Bachelors of Architecture and Bachelors of Interior Architecture from Auburn University. During his studies, Danny spent a semester abroad in Rome, interned with Shui On Land in Shanghai, PRC and Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill in New York; and was a part of Auburn’s Rural Studio Thesis Program. As a student at Rural Studio, Danny designed and built the Boys & Girls Club of Akron, recognized by Travel + Leisure magazine as “One of the World’s Most Beautiful Buildings”. Upon completing his project, Danny was brought on as part of Rural Studio’s faculty as the Outreach / Thesis Instructor and Director’s Assistant. Building from his background at the Rural Studio, Danny’s interests are rooted process and engagement. From photography, letterpressprinting and the restoration of a 1963 Volkswagen bug, he is enlivened through the act of creating, making, and the opportunity to share his enthusiasm with others. He continues to pursue socially oriented projects, and additionally he volunteers design service and serves on the advisory board for ART WORKS Projects, whose mission is to use design and the arts to awareness around human rights issues. Since joining Wheeler Kearns in 2011, Danny has worked on numerous projects that have focused in the public realm. Most notably, he served as Project Architect for the award winning Intrinsic School, transforming a shuttered lumberyard structure into Chicago’s first school designed specifically for Blended Learning. The project reinvented the classroom for a 21st-century revolutionary teaching model, and now serves as a national precedent for blended learning environments. The project has received many awards including the 2015 Association for Learning Environments Lee J. Brockway Award for Renovation Award, the 2015 AIA Illinois Honor Award – Frank Lloyd Wright Award for Renovation, the 2015 BD+C Reconstruction Award, and was a finalist for the global World Architecture News Education Awards. He has also completed an office space for tech startup Dscout, and several cafes for Intelligentsia Coffee in Chicago, New York & LA. Currently, Danny is serving as Project Architect for Intrinsic School’s second campus, the Lakeview Food Pantry and the conversion of a former Kraft cheese plant into a new space for contemporary art for the Crystal Bridges Museum of Modern Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. Danny’s work at Wheeler Kearns has been published in Architectural Record, ArchDaily, EdWeek and featured as the project of the day on Architizer. He is part of AIA Chicago’s distinguished Bridge mentorship program and is working towards becoming a licensed architect.

Alumni Profile

Intrinsic School

Not many educators would look at a shuttered lumber yard on Chicago’s Northwest Side and declare it the perfect place for a new school. But Intrinsic School’s leaders weren’t looking for a traditional school, instead they were inventing a new type of learning space. The large column-free spaces located in the high-need neighborhood provided the perfect starting point.

Seventy-five percent of the existing buildings, some over 100 years old, were preserved and left exposed within the new envelope. The combination of new and old reflects Intrinsic’s educational tactics, where adaptive online learning is blended with traditional teaching in small groups to personalize education.

There are no 30-student classrooms, hallway lockers, or double-loaded corridors. Instead, up to 180 students and 8 teachers rotate within interconnected pods dedicated to each grade level. The right-hand pod focuses on the Humanities, while the left-hand pod concentrates on STEM. Each pod is comprised of a large open area adjacent to a traditional acoustically-isolated classroom.

Students are immersed in a much larger social network than their counterparts in traditional schools. These larger networks promote encounters between students of different abilities and backgrounds, enriching their experience.

The open area of each pod is designed for rotating between different modes of learning. A “coastline” of individual desks, furnished in both standing and sitting heights, provides a place for personalized online learning, where students learn at their own pace. “Exchange Tables”, situated under an oversized light shade, host peer-to-peer learning. Two “pop- up class” areas provide teachers a place where they can remediate a common misunderstanding or reinforce a newly learned concept with up to 12 students. Instead of diminishing the teacher’s role with technology, Intrinsic enables them to more effectively use their time and talent.

Intelligentsia Wicker Park

The 950 square foot Wicker Park store uses a curated material palette and thoughtful lighting design to differentiate the experience of those serving coffee from those being served. The use of natural wood inside the cafe contrasts with the sleek modern textures of the base building’s façade. The primary material palette is Douglas fir, concrete and white quartz. Douglas fir is used throughout the store and finished in different ways to define space and function. Pickled vertical slats line the café walls creating a soft warm shell while ebonized and oiled wood define the various functions within the space.

The coffee bar is housed in a wooden volume that showcases typically back of house components and highlights the lab-like quality of Intelligentsia’s process. Conceived as a Matryoshka Doll, the coffee bar is nestled inside a Douglas fir volume whose ‘top’ has been lifted. The ‘top’ is set at eight feet high providing a more intimate experience between barista and customer. White quartz counter tops and an illuminated stretch ceiling create the lining inside the nesting doll and further distinguish and define the coffee bar. Located at the rear of the space, the coffee bar’s wooden volume decreases the perceptual depth of the café’s interior, foreshortening the seating space and creating a much more substantial presence at the sidewalk. The seating area is defined by a field of suspended incandescent lighting fixtures that creates a warm tone and intimate environment and hover above a long communal table, a bench which wraps the perimeter and a series of red stools designed specifically for this location. The stools of various shapes and scale are designed to be used as seating, a side table, or a work surface for a computer and is easily reconfigured allowing for a dynamic seating area that changes with the current inhabitants. The stools are rearranged each night by the baristas and become improvised sculpture while the store is closed.

Intelligentsia Broadway

As the birthplace of Intelligentsia, Broadway, represents a time capsule of the company’s growth. The design of the store’s renovation seeks to blend many of the qualities of the original location with the companies’ progressive ideas of brewing and serving coffee.

With increased seating and an emphasis on a communal environment the redesign offers a variety of environments to have a cup of coffee. The addition of a ‘slow bar’ offers patrons the chance to relax at a more traditional bar setting and discuss the specifi cities of their drink with one of Broadway’s knowledgeable Baristas. With increased capacity and a refined material palette the renovation of Broadway takes a simple mantra, if it’s not broken don’t fix it. Instead we just gave it a little tune up.

Intelligentsia Herald Square

The 800sf coffee bar is located inside a new Urban Outfitters in NYC’s Herald Square. This location is Intelligentsia’s first cafe that integrates a food program with shopping experience. With its own street-facing entrance on Broadway, an interior garage door opens up to allow customers to flow freely between retail space and coffee shop.