Good design is more than just aesthetics, and this building is proof. Judged solely on its architecture, the Julius Blum Office Building in Lincoln County, NC, is a stand-out.
Uncover its high-tech features and innovative building systems, and the facility is a real knock-out.
Julius Blum Inc. is the North American subsidiary of an Austrian cabinet-hardware manufacturer. For a company that takes so much pride in its craftsmanship, it’s not surprising that the new corporate headquarters offers high-performance and dynamic design inside and out. The 44,000-square-foot, 2-story office building is an addition to the site’s 20-year-old manufacturing plant. Additionally, the building provides 17,000 square feet of secure exterior decks, courtyards, and entries. The building offers:
- Employee work areas that range from executive offices to more standard (but customized) open-plan workstations.
- An extensive lobby.
- A gallery/exhibition hall.
- Product showrooms, meeting spaces, a computer-training center, and conference facilities.
- Collaborative work areas and amenities that are shared by plant support and office staff.
- A large, landscaped courtyard with overlooking terraces.
At the onset of the project, the design team determined that the facility should provide daylighting, flexibility, and security, as well as opportunities to accentuate the corporate image and enable greater workplace collaboration.
Because of the demanding due east-south-west orientation of the facility, building-envelope systems were carefully selected and developed for each building elevation. The structure and its envelope, electrical, and HVAC systems were designed to work in an integrated fashion to maximize building performance.
On the south and west façades, light shelves help control daylighting. Other strategies employed throughout the building to reduce glare and enable better visibility include the use of low-E glass vision panels, horizontal louvers on the west façade, catwalk shading, and reverse-slope glazing. The exterior shading devices and other high-efficiency assemblies also enhance thermal performance. Energy efficiency is further improved through the use of custom R-30 insulated and reflective aluminum panels, which are glazed directly into the curtainwall framing. Additional solutions to address energy-efficiency goals include:
- Displacement ventilation. Fan power is greatly reduced because the system only uses one-sixth of the air quantity of a conventional system. The result is a reduction of approximately 75- to 80-percent fan motor power demand and consumption.
- Radiant cooling panels. Water temperatures of approximately 64 degrees F. improve chiller efficiency and are made possible through the use of these panels.
- Indirect lighting. By using radiant panels as part of the indirect lighting system, the building’s cooling load is further reduced.
The open office area is heated and cooled with the suspended radiant panels, which are controlled in zones within each department and augmented with perimeter displacement ventilation that is delivered through a raised flooring system. In the café, air-conditioning is delivered through hollow-core concrete floor panels.
The facility’s sleek angular design and innovative application of energy efficiency and high-tech building systems enable this cabinet-hardware maker to provide its employees with comfort and great style.
JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “This is a very modern, state-of-the-art building that strongly adheres to its original design and structural intent. It is highly imaginative, but is well-placed in practicality and function. It responds exquisitely to the tenant needs and function.”