This intervention for a furniture manufacturer instills existing facilities with a dynamic campus identity and celebrates the company’s transparent relationship to its hometown.
Founded in 1944, the company molded itself on a mission to create long-term value, provide a great place to work, and treat everyone—employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, and the community—with fairness and respect. However, the company’s facility, which straddles the main entry to downtown, slowly congested into opaque warehouses and service bridges. The buildings presented the main street with an oppressive canyon of windowless walls, ventilation louvers, and corrugated steel.
Amidst the clutter, the company saw an opportunity to re-align with its ideals and provide downtown a fitting urban gateway. Razing two warehouses opens a plaza on axis with the company’s historical headquarters. Glazing the incision on the remaining warehouses communicates transparent integrity by providing a window to the heart of the corporation. Original materials appear throughout. The brick structures, initially renovated to showcase research and development, have been adopted as the new headquarters.
Glazed conveyor bridges amplify the architecture into urban design. Their prominence underscores the value of the continuous conveyor that snakes through the complex to its distribution center. As the manufacturer’s lifeblood, it would have been financially disastrous for the belt to disconnect during construction. Rigorous sequencing incrementally rerouted its course, balancing expedience with productivity. With a few surgical modifications, what was once a functional but outwardly inert mechanism now kinetically activates the campus with the company’s operational flow.
60,000 SF (renovated)
IA Interior Architects, Interior Design
2017 AIA Iowa Design Award