In one post-occupancy interview, an employee noted that the only bad thing about this building is that he’ll never be happy working anywhere else! Indeed, a key directive of this project was to provide superior working conditions throughout the 8,000 sf office and 34,000 sf lean manufacturing shop. Internally, the design connects workers to the environment and to each other. Inclusion of the entire company in a week-long integrated design charrette led to architecture that responds uniquely to how Aerzen works and how they want to grow. For example, the nexus that links the shop and the office is transparent to facilitate communication and provide a strong visual reminder of the dual natures of the business. Site planning and building structures were designed to easily accommodate future expansion. Key to the building’s performance was a carefully engineered passive solar design. This project also features the first commercial application of straw bale in PA, using straw grown by a nearby farm (Farmer Cliff, to be exact).
Design Award of Recognition, Society of American Registered Architects; 2008