Frankfurt am Main, DE
Meticulous detailing and geometric rigour define this well engineered glazed box, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The building houses the US administrative headquarters of the Herkules Group, a world leader in the manufacture of roll machining equipment.
A skeletal steel structure organizes the build. The plan is golden section. The architectural skin comprises a light metal frame with glass infill panels, generating a fenestration composition that is controlled, measured and precise.
The sculptural articulation of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems - all designed to be powered by the building’s geo-thermal heat well - reflects the project’s no-nonsense industrial aesthetic. This can also seen in the elegant folded steel plate staircase - fabricated by the client - at the front of building; and in the use of translucent glass panels which allows diffuse light to illuminate the central service spine housing the technical infrastructure and kitchen.
In plan, the offices and meeting rooms face outwards on both levels on three of its four sides, the south-facing side being the exception, comprising as it does the reception area, the double height lobby and stairwell. On its west elevation, the building offers scenic views of the neighbouring woodland area. Sun glare is subtlety managed throughout by a series of semi transparent screens.
The building’s south façade is finished with a striking roof sign in perforated mesh, its height and width matching that of the floor elevations below and its depth aligning with three of the glazed panels on its side elevations. The sign serves three functions: first, as a way of enriching the architectural box typology; secondly, to locate the building in its surroundings, the sign being visible from the nearby highway; and finally, to obfuscate various pieces of external mechanical equipment pertaining to the utilities within.
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, US