Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
For seven decades Miller Products produced glossy-coated automotive parts and stadium seats from a utilitarian one-story factory. When demand lessoned and manufacturing shut down, and the city-block sized building stood vacant for years, an example of the region’s decline.
This urban Brownfield revitalization brings the shine back by creating a multi-story facility that adds momentum to the area’s renaissance Two distinct building towers punch through the roof to interrupt the single-story plane. A three-story lobby, at the corner entrance, extends upward to a 2nd floor lunch area and a third floor board room/executive retreat.
The second upper level space, on the opposite end of the building, creates an inspirational meeting space and an iconic building billboard, when viewed from the nearby freeway.
Utilizing an open office plan the flexible environment offers “phone booths” for private work, “touchdown” community tables and traditional workstations. Collaboration areas, sprinkled throughout, range from glass-walled conference areas to outdoor venues on the patio and roof gardens.
A row of roof monitors introduce sunlight deep into the building’s central core. An operable glass partition offers additional natural light and views to an outdoor garden / central courtyard created by removing existing structural bays. An element of playfulness resides in the office’s central core, affectionately named “The Hollow,” the space resembles a 1970’s “sunken” living room. The former loading dock is now a multi-purpose space accommodating staff meetings and available for community organizations.
The wood walls, flooring and casework come from ash trees, destroyed by the Emerald Ash Bore infestation, kiln-dried and locally milled. Featured extensively in the open lobby area it, along with a sealed and polished concrete floor creates a durable, sustainable entrance experience. The end result is an office environment that showcases urban renewal possibilities as it breathes new life into a neighborhood.