This intervention for a furniture company instills existing facilities with a dynamic campus identity celebrating 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, had gradually accumulated into a network of largely opaque warehouses stitched with service bridges. The buildings presented the main street with windowless walls, ventilation louvers, and corrugated steel.
The company took the condition as 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 remaining warehouses’s exposed facades communicates the company’s belief in transparent integrity by providing a window in the heart of the corporation. The brick structures, initially renovated to showcase research and development, have been adopted as the new headquarters. Original materials re-appear throughout, from wall finishes to furniture to stair treads.
Glazed conveyor bridges amplify the architecture into urban design. Their prominence underscores the operational value of the continuous conveyor that snakes through the complex to the distribution center. As the manufacturer’s lifeblood, it would have been financially detrimental for the belt to disconnect, however briefly, 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 expressively knits the campus, kinetically activating it—and the entry to downtown—with the company’s production flow.
60,000 SF (renovated)
IA Interior Architects, Interior Design
2017 AIA Iowa Design Award