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Herkules, USA Corporation

Pittsburgh, United States of America
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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, with the building's architectural skin comprising a light metal frame with identically sized glass infill panels, generating a glazed envelope 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 at the front of building (which was fabricated by the client); 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, in a U-shape configuration around the service spine, so enabling them all to enjoy the quality of light affored by the full height glazing. On its west facing side, the building offers scenic views of the neighbouring woodland area. Sun glare is subtly managed by a series of semi transparent screens.

The reception area, double height lobby and stairwell organise the building's south facing composition. Externally, this facade is finished with a striking roof sign in perforated mesh, its height and width matching that of the floor elevations, and its depth aligning with three of the building's glass infill panels.

The sign serves three functions: first, as a way of enriching the architectural box typology; secondly, to locate the development in its surroundings, the sign being visible from the nearby highway; and finally, to soften the visual impact of the mechanical plant equipment sited on the roof.

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graemedrussell, April 6th, 2016
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