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  Huntsman Polyurethanes R&D Offices & Labs, Page 26Huntsman Polyurethanes R&D Offices & Labs
Neumann/Smith & Associates, 400 Galleria Officentre, #555, Southfield, MI 48034

Auburn Hills, Michigan
Total Square Feet: 97,715
Construction Period: Nov 1998 to Oct 1999

Construction Team
General Contractor: Turner Construction Company - 535 Griswold, #200, Detroit, MI 48226
Structural Engineer: L & A, Inc. - 30840 Northwestern Highway, #310, Farmington Hills, MI 48334
Electrical & Mechanical Engineer: CFI Engineering, Inc. - 1100 Owendale, #B, Troy, MI 48083
Landscape Architect: Land Design Studio - 1310 North Stephenson Hwy; Royal Oak, MI 48067
Cost Estimator: Turner Construction Company - 535 Griswold, #200, Detroit, MI 48226

The site for the new research and development facility for Huntsman Polyurethanes, a chemical and polyurethane manufacturer, is located on a parcel of heavily wooded property, with access limited to its west edge. The site is entered along a curving boulevard within a prestigious technological office park. Important vistas of the site from a highway along the east, as well as a wooded wetland along the north, guided the placement of the building mass on the site. Strict tree preservation requirements mandated a one-to-one replacement of any protected trees on the site. Of over 1,000 trees on the site, careful building placement required that only 200 needed to be replanted.

The unique orientation of the site, combined with a grade change over 50 feet sloping down from west to east, suggested a simple terracing to create three distinct platforms. A west platform for the technical/high-bay areas, a central platform for the two-story office areas, and the lowest platform, containing the employee parking lot. The gently curving entry drive passes the dramatic simplicity of the high-bay area, constructed of graphite colored ground faced masonry units. A circular plaza provides a drop-off point for visitors entering the dramatic two-story high glass cylinder containing the building lobby and elevator. This single entrance, placed adjacent to the sleek glass and metal clad office building, allows staff and visitors alike to experience this focal point of the building, the company's "front room." The building features Sun-Guar® coated glass products for maximum light transmission and excellent energy performance.

A small red vestibule portal allows access to the drum, which is constructed of a white painted exposed steel cage clad in glass. A granite and wood reception desk greets visitors on a floor of black slate and granite. A waiting area of cozy furniture is placed on a brightly colored custom-made rug. The dramatic two-story high elevator shaft is clad in silver and red metal panels. The elevator exits across a glowing glass block bridge uplighted with low-voltage lighting.

A triangular atrium divides the office into two wings, and is bathed in natural light from a linear translucent skylight. A curving open stair sweeps through the atrium promoting a direct interconnection of levels. One wall of the atrium is constructed of a flexible system of laminated photographic panels, providing a changing kinetic image of products, nature, technology and the worldwide presence of Huntsman Polyurethanes. High-tech research labs also line the atrium, with punched windows providing a peek into the future product development with real people in white coats. An array of conference facilities also lines the atrium, forming a central gathering place. The ground floor of the atrium is furnished with casual seating for an informal meeting or for a chance to sip a coffee while checking email on a laptop.

Entirely organized with open offices and open meeting areas, everyone shares the views of the wetlands and nature. The only fixed walled areas with windows are dedicated to fitness and a cafe. A moveable wall allows the cafe to be expanded into a multi-purpose training room, providing a space large enough for all the employees to gather.

The end result is a serene research and development environment, a high-tech business machine, tucked into a rolling wooded preserve of nature and natural light.

Exterior Walls - Curtainwall, Aluminum Entrances & Storefronts: Tubelite; Coated Glass: Sun-Guard(R) by Guardian Industries; Insulating Glass: Perilstein Distributing Corp.; Glazing Contractor: Universal Glass & Metals; Metal Composite Panels: Centria; Red Metal Composite Panels:Copper Sales. 
Roof - Firestone.
Floors - Glass Block: Acme Brick; Carpet: Collins & Aikman, Patcraft; Athletic: Pawling; Epoxy: Stonhard; Tile: Dal-Tile; VCT: Azrock, Congoleum, Tarkett, Mannington, Armstrong.

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