Pratt & Whitney Headquarters and Engineering Building


Highlights:

  • 5-Story Modern Office Building
  • Open Office Spaces on the perimeter to maximize natural light and views
  • Offices and Conference Rooms to the Interior with full glass
  • State-of-the-art Audio-Visual systems throughout
  • Full Service Cafeteria which seats 550
  • Large, Integrated Education Center
  • Multi-media Branding Features in the Lobby
  • Access Control throughout the building to protect Intellectual Property

Owner: United Technologies Corporation
Type: New Office Building
Location: East Hartford, CT
Area: 440,000 Square Feet
Completion: 2017

Project Description:

The Pratt & Whitney World Headquarters and Engineering Building was envisioned as a structure which would respect Pratt & Whitney’s history, reflect their image and support their position as a world leader in the design, development, manufacture and service of aircraft engines.  This five-story building of approximately 440,000 square feet occupies a position on the Pratt & Whitney campus in close proximity to the historic Hangar Building/Museum and the Customer Training Center.  The new plan for the North Campus has intentionally placed the new building as the “Gateway” to the site, reinforcing the notion that the Pratt & Whitney story began with innovative engineering.

The early phases of the P&W Campus were built in the late 20’s and early 30’s and are considered Art Deco in style.  The aviation industry heavily influenced design during the Art Deco period by providing an Aerodynamic inspiration.  The Architecturally significant buildings on the campus such as the Main Admin Building, the South Admin Building, the Hangar, and the Power Plant, as well as a number of the older manufacturing buildings, are from this period.  In keeping with the Art Deco style, the composition of the exterior facades of these finely detailed brick masonry buildings tends to have a vertical emphasis rather than a horizontal one.  A number of the details found in the facades of the Main Administration Building were carried over into the design of the brick masonry elements of the new building.

These brick masonry elements appear as five-story “End Caps” or “Book Ends” on the three short sides of the façade of the new building and are meant to represent the engineering history which supports Pratt & Whitney’s business.  The glass and aluminum elements of the façade, which are supported by these masonry “Book Ends”, represent Pratt & Whitney’s place as a modern, high tech aerospace company that is leading the way to the next generation of propulsion technology.  It is not an accident that a visitor or guest is intentionally made to pass through one of the masonry elements of the façade in order to enter the building.  Again, this is to reinforce the notion that Pratt & Whitney’s future will continue to be grounded in its long and impressive engineering history.  In the same way, the main entrance to the building is covered with a canopy that is designed as a very modern composition of glass and aluminum supported by a series of tube steel moment frames rotated at progressively steeper angles.  As you gain access through this contemporary sculptural element, you are passing through a massive masonry arch, again reinforcing the notion that your movement forward is always grounded in the past.

There are other subtle details found on the exterior of the building which provide an aeronautic reference.  As you follow the vertical lines of the curtainwall element of the building, you will see an aluminum trellis which is composed of a series of foils in the shape of a wing or blade.  Mill finished aluminum and brushed stainless steel are used as the finish for many of the exposed elements found on the interior of the building.  While we lacked the ability to utilize the exotic alloys and composite materials that are used in P&W’s products, we felt that it was important to use materials that are commonly used in the aerospace industry.

Along with a quantity of typical office space, most of the common amenities within the building as well as a majority of the support space to maintain the building are located on the First Floor.  Much of the space on this floor is devoted to functions which require more direct access for both employees and visitors.  The branding elements found in the two-story Lobby tell Pratt & Whitney’s story with a focus on the next generation of engineering accomplishments.  The building will be serviced by a 21,000 square foot cafeteria, which will be in close proximity to Pratt & Whitney’s 12,000 square foot Engineering Technical University.  A moveable wall can convert half of the cafeteria dining room into an auditorium which will accommodate approximately 300 people.  In addition to this large meeting room, there are numerous meeting spaces to accommodate both formal and informal collaboration.

Pratt & Whitney’s Engineering Group will occupy approximately 320,000 square feet of space on the upper four floors of the building.  These floors are designed in two relatively narrow wings to maximize available daylighting for both the open office space as well as for enclosed offices and meeting spaces.  A majority of the workspaces are never more than 35 feet from the glass at the perimeter of the building.  The core elements on each floor provide space for both formal and informal collaboration, including a Networking Area at the center of each floor.  Each wing has a dedicated Kitchenette, Bathroom and Elevator Core to maximize convenience.  A majority of the meeting spaces in the building will provide some level of Audio/Visual technology to enable meetings in a digital format. 

The building and the site were designed with energy conservation in mind.  Through the careful selection of materials and the use of innovative systems and technologies, Pratt & Whitney’s goal of achieving a LEED Gold certification for this building should be realized.