200,000 Sq. Ft.
Factory, Offices and Warehouse
JMA worked with Tom Melk of Outer Circle Products to create a factory-office-warehouse in Chicago. The project included an extensive work to a 140,000 square foot heavy timber loft space and the new construction of a 60,000 square foot steel warehouse during a rapid expansion of a company which consistently outperformed projections and evolved in the 1990s.
The designs were all based upon trying to minimize hierarchy and encourage interaction between all members of the company. The deep three story loft building had very little natural light and so a two story atrium was created in the heart of the building. Around this oasis of light were a variety of architectural elements composed to animate interaction. Sales, marketing, engineering and manufacturing teams housed on the third floor could not get to their offices without passing through the assembly line area: meeting spaces, bathrooms and the company café and primary circulation were all part of the central atrium.
The office spaces are organized in a series of three communities, reflecting the central atrium design by their orientation around skylights. The office areas are open but quiet and idiosyncratic. Work pods are outfitted with drapes and upholstered panels, allowing employees privacy. Ambient lighting was fashioned out of conduit and shades of metal spun from WWII bombshell tools and sculpted reflectors cast in honey toned resin. Similarly many of the materials for the offices use raw steel, wire reinforced glass, checker-plate and perforated steel floors and other materials from 20th century Midwestern manufacturing facilities, enhanced by hand crafted details such as cast glass light fixtures and door pulls. Many of the designs were also inspired by the idea of Chicago as a crystal set in the plains, and similarly from the crystalline structure of fluorite, a mineral found throughout Illinois.
The warehouse is composed of steel. The loading dock entry is marked by an arch of corrugated steel that widens at the top, a visual interpretation of Carl Sandburg’s reference to the “city of big shoulders” in his poem entitled “Chicago” from 1916 which begins with these lines:
HOG Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, Husky, Brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders
Architect of Record: Jordan Mozer & Associates, Ltd
Interior Design: Jordan Mozer & Associates, Ltd
Lighting Design: Jordan Mozer & Associates, Ltd
Furniture Design: Jordan Mozer & Associates, Ltd
Graphics: Jordan Mozer & Associates, Ltd
Product Design and Associated Manufacturing: Mozer Studios