(officially the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center
) is a convention center
A convention center is a large building that is designed to hold a convention, where individuals and groups gather to promote and share common interests. Convention centers typically offer sufficient floor area to accommodate several thousand attendees...
on the shores of Lake Monona
Lake Monona is a freshwater drainage lake in Dane County, Wisconsin surrounded on three sides by the city of Madison, Wisconsin and on the south side by the city of Monona, Wisconsin. It is the second-largest of a chain of four lakes along the Yahara River in the area and forms the south shore of...
in Madison, Wisconsin
Madison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the county seat of Dane County. It is also home to the University of Wisconsin–Madison....
Originally designed by Wisconsin native Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright was an American architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who designed more than 1,000 structures and completed 500 works. Wright believed in designing structures which were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture...
, it was first proposed by Wright in 1938. The county board rejected the plan by a single vote. Wright would continue to seek support for the plan (and alter its design) until his death in 1959.
For the next three decades, various proposals for a convention center on the Monona Terrace land would be considered and rejected. Several times, it appeared that supporters of the project would be able to secure the public financing to complete the project, but various forces (such as the start of World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
) inevitably sidelined the plan. In 1990, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin
Paul Soglin is the mayor of Madison, Wisconsin.-Early life and education:Soglin was raised in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago...
resurrected Wright's proposal. Among the arguments against its construction, opponents argued that it wasn't a genuine Wright building, that the costs were too steep for the tax payers to bear and that the construction would adversely affect the environment, specifically destroying the view of Lake Monona from street level on the south side of the Capitol Square. The proposed construction was put to a public referendum in 1992 and it passed. Construction began two years later.
In 1997, nearly sixty years after Wright's original inception, Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center opened its doors.
Monona Terrace is located two blocks from the Wisconsin State Capitol building
The Wisconsin State Capitol, in Madison, Wisconsin, houses both chambers of the Wisconsin legislature along with the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Office of the Governor. Completed during 1917, the building is the fifth to serve as the Wisconsin capitol since the first territorial legislature...
in downtown Madison.
From the roof of Monona Terrace, one can see views of downtown Madison, including the Capitol and a panoramic view of Lake Monona.
Wright made several alterations to the design of Monona Terrace during his lifetime. Although the exterior design is Wright's, the interior as executed was designed by Taliesin
Taliesin , near Spring Green, Wisconsin, was the summer home of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright began the building in 1911 after leaving his first wife, Catherine Tobin, and his Oak Park, Illinois, home and studio in 1909. The impetus behind Wright's departure was his affair with...
architect (and former Wright apprentice) Anthony Puttnam.
The building was constructed by J.H. Findorff and Son Inc., a southern Wisconsin contractor .
It is the mission of Monona Terrace to be a high quality, customer-focused facility that serves as a community gathering place, a tourism destination, and a catalyst for economic activity for the City of Madison, Dane County and the State of Wisconsin. The facility hosts over 600 conventions, meetings and weddings each year that result in an average of $36 million in economic activity for the region. Monona Terrace also serves the public with free community programs
that serve approximately 40,000 people each year. Monona Terrace also offers a daily guided tour at 1pm ($3), a museum quality gift shop, a gourmet rooftop cafe (warm weather months only), and serves as the home for some of the community's favorite events including the national radio variety show Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know?
Whad'Ya Know? is an American comedy, interview, and quiz radio show. Hosted by Michael Feldman, it was created in 1985. It is produced by Wisconsin Public Radio and distributed weekly by Public Radio International...
, Ironman Wisconsin, and U.S. Bank Eve.