Architect: Plunkett Raysich Architects, LLP
Owner: Bemis Company, Inc.
Contractor: CR Meyer & Sons Co.
Bemis Corporation, a worldwide leader in flexible packaging, required the transformation a non-descript 1980’s canning facility into a world class research and development center. The 125,000 square-foot program included extensive research labs, R & D office space, a machine show room and client experience spaces.
The project was limited to an interior remodel exterior work limited to introducing new point supported glass at the entry to allow views into the facility and a new signage element to refresh the existing entrance. The interior remodel occurred in 11 carefully orchestrated phases to keep the facility operational during construction, which took a total of 23 months.
The existing building entry was redesigned with clear, point-supported glass to create a high tech image and show activity inside the building. In addition, a curved surround and reclad columns incorporates new signage. A key function of the Innovation Center is to function as a sales tool to perspective customers. To accomplish this, a formal visitor experience with a series of designed tour stops helped shape the plan beginning at the new two-story lobby. The focal point of this space is a flexible orientation room which opens to the lobby for visitor interface with a touch screen wall or it can be closed for a private presentation. Throughout the design, a clean, high tech aesthetic with glass, stainless steel and branding colors creates a branded visitor experience. The former canning space was transformed into a packaging machine showroom. In this space, new clerestory windows flood the space with natural light. Surrounding the showroom are new research labs with glass fronts and graphics, which become visual stops on the visitor tour route. The showroom functions to display a variety of packaging equipment serviced by overhead power gas and vacuum. The showroom and labs allow visitors to experience Bemis’ design and research capabilities. Additional tour stops include a cooking lab to test product, environmental chambers and an analytical lab. Visiting clients are also provided a client suite available for long days at the facility with a living room, kitchen and luggage room to create a first-class visitor experience and a break space.
The new open office plan features a greatly reduced number of enclosed offices and an increased number of small meeting rooms for acoustical privacy when necessary. The typical workstation was reduced to 6’ x 9’ with shared work islands and sit-stand desks. The new open plan fosters teamwork and collaboration. A new atrium and skylight links the two R & D floors to foster communication and forms a “Town Square” for all company meetings as well. Two “work cafes” are strategically located in the building to be convenient meeting spaces for not only eating but also an alternative work environment with writeable walls and access to technology.
Careful planning was required to keep the facility operational, which resulted in a project with 11 Phases of construction within a 23-month schedule.
Extensive coordination between Bemis staff, the architect, consultants and contractors was needed to orchestrate the multiple moves of Bemis employees to accomplish this project.
Photos: Tricia Shay