As a defense contractor, Rockwell Collins made a stark change from the predominantly windowless buildings built in the 1950s and ‘60s (when windows were considered a security risk). Here, the building is light and bright, with an abundance of natural lighting.
The space concept for this office and electronic research laboratory called for two concentric square donuts around the 16 Department of Defense secure labs in the center. On the exterior donut, cubicles feature lots of natural light from exterior windows. The next donut consists of two or three rows of walled offices.
Special Design Features
The front of the building includes a slanted, metal-clad façade that is reminiscent of the skin of an airplane. Sunscreens adorn all of the building's south and west windows, and some of its north windows. All of these features help convince occupants and observers that the building is not a metal box.
Since labs create lots of heat from computers and electronic equipment, the team used the heat in the winter to wash exterior walls by situating fan-powered VAV boxes on the perimeter of the building. Occupancy sensors located throughout the building address lighting and HVAC occupancies. Because of its efficiencies, the building is expected to become certified to LEED's newest version - the first building in Iowa that will be certified at the newest version - and, if certified, only the fifth LEED building in the state.
Biggest challenges for the design team were schedule and budget. The facility - a Butler building built and furnished for under $122 per square foot - was completed in 7.5 months from start of construction through completion.