Merging Past and Present

Oct. 2, 2009

HON’s intensive headquarters renovation reveals the building’s striking heritage


The HON Company, Muscatine, IA

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A 100-year-old building has emerged from a rigorous renovation project as a contemporary, sustainable headquarters for The HON Company in Muscatine, IA. The 68,000-square-foot facility’s 18-month transformation was centered on the idea of creating an optimal work environment.

“One of our primary objectives was to create a more collaborative workspace, and we feel that we have accomplished that in more ways than we ever imagined,” says Tim Smith, vice president of workplace environment at HON. “We designed the space so there were adjacencies of functional groups and working teams, which has definitely improved communications.”

Designed by Detroit-based SmithGroup, the headquarters renovation played with the tension between old and new. “We found many surprises as we entered into the construction phases – and some were pleasant ones. For example, we didn’t realize that there were so many beautiful beams and columns in the fundamental structure. These beams became an integral part of the restoration – in celebrating the history and beauty of the original facility,” says Smith.

Project Team (partial list)

Owner (Award Submitter): The HON Company
Architect/Designer: SmithGroup
General Contractor: Carl A. Nelson & Co.

New technology and advances in sustainability also had their place in the renovation project. Skylights and lightwells bring natural light to the interior, and the HVAC and lighting systems feature state-of-the-art benefits. The lighting systems alone are approximately 40-percent more energy efficient than the previous systems.

Smith remarks that employee and community perceptions of the newly designed facility are overwhelmingly positive. “As visitors experience the restoration, there is definitely a ‘wow factor’ in terms of the heritage of the building, and the respect HON had for keeping the architectural beauty of the original facility intact through renovation.”

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