United Technologies Corporation Office Space Renovation and Relocation
- Contemporary office environment
- Improved site lines to the exterior
- Improved daylighting within the building
- Provided for both formal and informal meeting spaces
- Improved the notion of “Transparency” through a generous use of glass
- Reduced the number of staff who occupy private offices
Owner: United Technologies Corporation
Type: Renovation and Relocation
Location: Farmington, CT
Area: 100,000 Square Feet
As part of a larger effort to consolidate their Hartford area offices into their Farm Springs location in Farmington, United Technologies Corporation (UTC) leased the 8 Farm Springs building. This 1980’s vintage building is situated between two buildings that were already occupied by the company. This move allowed them to achieve several goals simultaneously.
First, UTC was interested in changing the culture of the work environment for a number of the departments located in their headquarters building in Hartford. Nearly all of the staff located in the Gold Building headquarters occupied private offices on the perimeter of the building. There was little collaboration because everyone worked in their private office with doors closed. The number of spaces on the floor where employees had an opportunity to meet informally was very limited. With nearly everyone located in a private office, the overall plan was fairly inefficient. UTC was interested in moving away from this old standard into a new work environment which would nurture communication and promote collaboration; one in which employees would have multiple opportunities to meet during the day, both informally and formally. The design which was implemented on the upper two floors of the 8 Farm Springs building included smaller offices, primarily located on the interior, with glass fronts. The windows in the building are small; but by implementing the standard of interior offices and lowering workstation panel heights, we were able to provide maximum natural light for employees. The workstations were designed to provide staff members with the same storage and filing capacity which they had left behind in their private offices. Multiple meeting rooms were integrated into the office space from two person “huddle rooms” to larger presentation rooms. In the center of each floor is now a large “Networking Area” with a kitchenette, vending area and casual seating. This space has become the “Town Center” where everyone has the opportunity to cross paths with their co-workers. The employees were initially concerned about noise when moving to an open plan. They also felt they would not have a need for the open collaborative spaces being offered. Once in the space, the staff discovered that the spontaneous meeting environment was actually very useful and did increase communication. The space has an energy conducive to attracting a younger workforce and has had a positive effect on the employees.
UTC’s second goal for this project was to build a state-of-the-art facility for their “Leadership Center”. The Leadership Center provides training and conferencing services to all divisions of the corporation to maintain high standards in production, quality and business integrity. This sophisticated facility includes numerous training rooms in a variety of sizes, break-out rooms, a large, dividable assembly space which can accommodate up to 200, and an executive dining room for 150 which serves restaurant quality food to meeting participants. All of the rooms included state-of-the-art Audio Visual Technology systems to enhance both training and collaboration. An outdoor patio off the dining room offers an outdoor space for receptions and employee dining. A challenge in designing the Leadership Center was the low ceiling height in the overall space. In the Assembly area in particular, the client wanted the appearance of a high ceiling. We accomplished this by painting the deck and mechanical systems black and hanging ceiling clouds that gradually stepped up toward the front of the room. This strategy succeeded in giving the space the desired appearance of height while providing a visually interesting ceiling.
The third goal for this renovation/relocation project was to create a contemporary office environment which could function as a showplace for the company’s building products and systems. As the parent company of well-known international brands, the client felt that it was important to have the best technologies from these divisions on display in this facility.
The office space located on the second and third floors of the 8 Farm Springs Building was completed several months prior to the completion of the Leadership Center on the first floor. This allowed for a phased occupancy of the building and required careful communication with Local Building Officials to ensure they were comfortable with the Life Safety provisions that were put in place.
Upon entering the building, the space now has a contemporary, high tech appearance. The flow of the space, along with the colors and materials, give it the energy the company wants to convey to their customers, vendors and employees.