Project Earns Top AIA Merit Award

We are thrilled to share that Project Aspen has received 2023 Merit award from the American Institute of Architects Southwest Michigan chapter. Projects were juried by a selection of peers from the AIA’s Central Idaho chapter. Congratulations to our client, the design team members, and everyone who took home an award this year. It was great to be back together celebrating great design in our communities.

Project Aspen, Merit Award Winner

  • Location: Portage, MI
  • Size: 230,000 square feet

Project Aspen involves revitalizing approximately 230,000 SF of interior space for use as workplaces and test labs. The design challenge was to reflect the updated appearance, brand identity, and workstyle within the interior. Consistent growth led to office disorganization and the objective was to strategically relocate departments to enhance efficiency and growth, arrange adjacencies to optimize productivity, and establish improved collaboration zones.

The design celebrates collaboration by creating spaces for employees to meet and exchange ideas, fostering process and product enhancements. A unique element within the plan is the New Product Development area, where moving a new product through development requires grasping the customer’s perspective. From expansive design critiques and workshops to team collaborations, idea generation, and focused programming, the design adapts to these phases, offering areas that encourage discussion and creativity, as well as secluded spaces for concentrated work. Material choices play with light and texture, evoking an ambiance of creativity and curiosity.

The individualized and meaningful design solutions can be adapted over time to align with evolving needs and flexible departmental configurations, optimizing space utilization throughout the workplace. Work Walls, as symbols of collaboration and ideation, are thoughtfully integrated throughout the building and serve as highly utilized hubs within the facility.

Jury Comments: This is an exemplary project for its effective use of a large existing building. Turning an existing manufacturing facility into day-lit office space, rich with employee amenities and collaborative spaces aligns well with the Framework for Design Excellence. I can’t help but think that Adaptive Reuse projects similar to this will become increasingly common as we are asked to “mine” the embodied energy within existing buildings.

Jury Comments: The designers of Project Aspen used all of the tools at their disposal to create a human-scaled space out of a shell that had been used to make and store “stuff”! The design utilizes color, architectural nodes and the combination of the exposed shell components and the high-quality and custom furniture pieces to create a space for a lot of people to work – without losing the sense of place.

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Read more about the project here.

Project Aspen received a Merit award from the American Institute of Architects of Southwest Michigan Chapter.