This engineering office is located on the third floor of a recently overhauled historic building in a burgeoning urban district. The building itself began operation in 1901 as an office and manufacturing facility. Now it is the state’s first commercial building that produces more energy than it consumes by leveraging a decentralized, fluid-based heating and cooling system, coupled with ground-source geothermal and photovoltaic panels located on the roof and on a shade canopy over an adjacent parking lot.

The second floor offices provide nearly 10,000sf of vibrant work environment for 60 employees, most of which are in an open studio configuration. Where enclosed spaces are required—a few offices, conference, work rooms, server rooms, kitchenette and storage—they are located in an ‘island’ near the center of the floor plate to avoid robbing work areas of important natural daylight. Where spaces must touch the perimeter walls, they are glazed with large sheets of clear glass to the greatest extent possible.

A tectonic expression is adopted throughout not only as a viable language for an engineering design firm, but also to complement the existing industrial character while distinguishing the new interventions from the original.

The engineering studio is outfitted with height-adjustable workstations and algorithmically-based color-changing LED lighting that continually adjusts the light color and intensity to mimic natural daylight. Perimeter windows are operable. Heating and cooling is achieved through a decentralized, fluid-based variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system coupled to ground-sourced geothermal. All outlets are split between always-on and power managed. All electrical consumption is offset by the photovoltaic arrays previously mentioned.

The firm’s corporate color is utilized as a carved void in the ‘island’ at the reception area. The green acrylic panels and laminated glass provide a bold and immediate delivery of the company brand. One recognizes immediately that this is not an ordinary engineering company.