For the Cummins Engine Company, we began by devising the ideal qualities of the company’s interior spaces: high-quality work environment, filled with natural light, which would increase the energy efficiency of the spaces and set the standard for the community.
Cummins is—at its heart—a technology company with a deep history of innovative design. The unusually slender, high-ceilinged office floorplate provides abundant natural daylight to every space while minimizing reliance on electricity. The building features a high performance, “calibrated” façade with varying degrees of transparency and opacity, and an integrated system of fins and shades that limit heat gain and increase visual and thermal comfort.
Office spaces are tailored to encourage all kinds of working: collaborative, focused, social, active, contemplative, informal. Because many of the 600 employees are often on the move (to distribution sites and the corporate headquarters in Columbus, Indiana), no one “owns” a desk in the building. A variety of workspaces include private meeting rooms, team rooms, open collaborative areas, focus booths, and informal gathering spaces like the double-height “social hubs” that connect the floors. Furnishings include sitting, standing, and treadmill desks to encourage a healthy workplace. The social quality of the office interiors extends beyond the property and reconnects the neighborhood, which for many years had been cut off from the rest of the downtown neighborhoods and life of the city.
The post-tensioned concrete building allows for long-spans and fewer columns in the office floors to increase visual transparency and spatial flexibility. The formed concrete columns and ceiling are partially exposed, and ribbons of façade are ever-present. Within this bold expression of structure and skin, elements made of natural wood, such as builtin furniture and stairways, recur and invite a human connection. Patterned and colored fabrics create vibrant counterpoints, along with the commission of several art pieces curated to bring identity to the different interior areas.