Metal Design Systems Office Addition and Renovation

Anamosa, Iowa
  • Client
    Metal Design Systems
  • SQ. FT.
    9,600 Addition; 15,000 Renovation
  • Market
  • Year

Metal Design Systems, which designs, fabricates, and supplies metal panel systems internationally, purchased an existing warehouse to renovate and add onto to create a new office and fabrication facility. The three central ideas for the project were:

Community: The building needed to be forward-thinking while also providing meeting and gathering spaces for the community.

Equity: Create equity between office and warehouse employees through shared spaces.

Innovation: The building’s design and detailing needed to display the company’s work while also demonstrating the value of collaboration and innovation.

The 9,600-square-foot addition extends across the front of the existing warehouse creating a new face visible from the highway. A corten wrapper, which captures the interior space and a courtyard, changes from opaque to perforated, responding to the interior program. The natural patine of weathering steel is modern without being ostentatious.
Inside, every portion of the building that was in good condition was re-used, including demolished structural elements where possible. All steel was refinished and left exposed in both the office and warehouse.

The design responded to an existing geothermal well that could not be built over. By turning the well field into a courtyard with tree groves, including both soft and hardscaping, it created opportunities for outdoor gatherings and an area to escape and recharge.

The plan is set on a strict module providing order and maximizing material efficiencies. Interior spaces that border the courtyard are open and transparent gathering spaces to promote visual connections to the courtyard. This includes the generous cafe space and a community room connected to the courtyard through retractable doors. An innovation space where architects and fabricators can collaborate and test design-build ideas also wraps the courtyard.

Responding to a desire for equity, there is a central entrance for both office and warehouse employees. Large windows connect the office and cafe spaces to the warehouse and the primary longitudinal circulation occurs along the intersection of the office and warehouse, promoting spontaneous interaction. The idea of equity continues into the offices, where there are no private offices along the glass walls.

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