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'A HOTBED FOR HUMAN CONNECTIONS'

Exterior of Origen Center of Phillips Plastics Origen Center of Phillips Plastics
Menomonie, Wis.

Client
Phillips Plastics Corp.

Architect
James/Snow Architects

Building type
Manufacturing incubator and training facility

Award Category
Private sector, under $25 million


Phillips Plastics Corp.'s new building in Menomonie, Wis., has a sparse elegance that befits the rural landscape surrounding it. Thanks to its architect, Julie Snow, the company was able to build a facility that incubates new products and manufacturing processes and spins them off as new businesses. It combined a prototype manufacturing plant, new product development operations, and a training facility under one roof, with elegance and grace. The business goal is to hasten innovation and product development by bringing all the participants into close proximity.

Glass walls everywhere encourage curiosity and communication. One 35-foot-high glass wall, between the production and office areas, highlights management's philosophy of breaking down barriers. Eating areas, ''breakout'' spaces, and an outdoor terrace were intentionally designed to be centrally located to encourage casual encounters.

A granite base, wood cladding, and a steel frame signify a no-nonsense, results orientation. Yet there are windows everywhere, bathing Phillips' employees in natural light. ''There is a new understanding that people don't just work for money,'' says Snow. ''The workplace is a hotbed for human connections, and making that space comfortable, usable, and productive is what architecture is challenged to do.''



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Updated Oct. 23, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1997, Bloomberg L.P.
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