Aetna Consolidated IT Laboratories


  • Software Testing Facility with 200 test stations
  • Voice and Data Communications Command Center
  • Interactive AV conference rooms
  • AV Lecture Theater
  • Floating “cloud” ceiling system for optimal accessibility
  • Multiple layers of access control

Owner: Aetna
Type: Renovation of Information Systems Laboratory
Location: Hartford, CT
Area: 26,120 Square Feet
Completion: 2010

Project Description:

A key component in Aetna’s Connecticut Consolidation was the creation of an information systems center that combined selected departments from both the Middletown and Hartford campuses.  The Consolidated Laboratories include a 26,120 square foot Data Center with a server farm, a voice and data communications command center, and software testing facilities.

Upon entering the reception area at the Consolidated Laboratories, visitors are surrounded by Aetna’s state-of-the-art information services technology.  Beyond the custom-designed reception desk and shimmering metallic curtain are nearly 200 software testing stations. Two interactive A/V conference rooms occupy a glazed island in the middle of the open office area. The decorative ceiling “wave” leads the eye to the farthest reaches of the space. For teaching and demonstration, a compact lecture theater seats six and is provided with a technographer’s console.  Imagery is projected onto the curved presentation wall from a ceiling-mounted LCD projector.

The biggest design challenge was to transform an unattractive below-grade space into a showcase for Aetna’s high-tech computer laboratories.  A secondary challenge was to maintain accessibility to above-ceiling building systems and equipment.  Because the newly renovated cafeteria is directly above this laboratory, service technicians require easy access to the many pieces of equipment suspended from the slab above.

CHK defined a palette of foreground and background colors, patterns and textures.  We then deployed the palette in fresh ways that suggest divisions of space within the open office.