Haworth Furniture Shapes Compuware Corp. Headquarters

March 10, 2006

Walk through Compuware Corp.’s 15-story global headquarters in the heart of downtown Detroit and your first observation will likely be how illumination permeates the immense space, conveying a sense of clarity, strength, and confidence.

That’s very much the feeling Larry Fees was aiming for when he and his team sat down to plan the 1.1 million square feet of space that would serve up to 4,100 people.

Fees, Compuware’s vice president of real estate, facilities, and administration, had a list of priorities that included consolidating personnel from nine area facilities into a high-quality work environment that maximized natural light, offered people more control of their workspaces, and made change easy and cost effective - those were the hard-edged goals. Equally important, but more challenging to visualize, were objectives that included knocking down the traditional barriers between workers and their managers, and creating “neighborhoods” to foster more natural communication and teamwork.

As the design team visualized it, the space would be “living space,” simultaneously energized and comfortable, airy, open, and non-monolithic. The team, a handful of people that included Compuware staffers and the architecture/design firm Rossetti, chose finishes and colors that fostered the sense of “lightness” throughout the building.  Glass - over 280,000 square feet of it - helps create the feeling of openness and provides occupants with a picture window view of the Detroit skyline. The 15-story atrium and amenities such as on-site daycare, a fitness center, and a cafeteria that captures the mood of an urban market give the facility a feeling more analogous to a diverse, multi-tiered community than a corporate office. There’s a subtle sense of change as you move from space to space; not unsettling, but pleasantly unpredictable.

Furnishings played a key role in shaping the attitude of this workspace, and the team had a hand at every level - right down to light fixtures and the design of the lobby’s water feature. The team chose Haworth’s RACE systems furniture because its brushed metallic tones complemented the firm’s high-technology image and because it could be easily configured to create the informal “neighborhoods” on the team’s list of must-haves. Haworth’s LifeSPACE Walls offered more glass, rich wood textures that warm the space, and the promise of easy adaptability to future floorplan changes. It all rests on Haworth’s TecCrete access flooring, which is key to the team’s goal of providing occupants with more control of personal comfort. All HVAC runs through this system, so vents can be placed almost anywhere. The system eliminated 6 inches of steel from each of the 15 floors; significant savings in a structure that required more than 8,000 tons of steel.

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