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  American Superconductor, Page 52American Superconductor
Cutler Associates, Inc.
43 Harvard Street, Worcester, MA 01609

Devens, Massachusetts
Total Square Feet: 354,000
Construction Period: Sep 2000 to Apr 2002 

Construction Team
Construction Manager: Cutler Associates, Inc. - 43 Harvard Street, Worcester, MA 01609
Structural Engineer: LJB - 906 Olive Street, #24, St. Louis, MO 63101
Electrical Engineer: Engineered Building Systems, Inc. - 224 N. Broadway, Salem, NH 03079
Mechanical Engineer: AHA Consulting Engineers, Inc. - 10 Maguire Road, #310, Lexington, MA 02421
Process Engineers: Fluor Daniel - 100 Fluor Daniel Drive, Greenville, SC 29607

The world’s first commercial HTS (high temperature superconducting) wire manufacturing plant is sited on thirty-four acres in the Devens Commerce Center, formally a 4,400-acre U.S. Army base, located 35 miles northwest of Boston. The building’s location was situated 160 feet back from the road within the Prospect Hill View Shed and consequently the parking lots had to be located at the front and side of the building rather than behind it. The architect, Cutler Associates, designed islands into every other parking bay to minimize the impact of the size of the 235-space lot. Existing trees were maintained at every possible location and the flagged trees were reviewed by the Devens Enterprise Commission for lighting sensitivity for the nearby celestrial Harvard Observatory. The landscape design uses grade changes to obscure parts of the building and designers created a landscape feature out of the detention pond because of its adjacency to a prominent intersection. 

Cutler’s architects, inspired by a photo of the client’s superconductive wires, used the detail of the curve on the interior and exterior features of the building. A curved corridor acts as a street that moves office traffic from the manufacturing plant to the office area. Windows that mimic the exterior window mullion grid are located within the wall of the corridor providing visual access to the manufacturing process. The size of the windows also provides maximum natural lighting for interior spaces. 

Ceiling soffits were curved to follow through with the curved scheme of the corridor wall and the patterning in the floor. They were also sloped at a 45-degree angle to gradually make the transition for a 23-foot high ceiling to a 16-foot 8-inch ceiling. The ceilings were designed at this height because of the extra large exterior windows used to visually reduce the scale of the building. 

Because the new wire pulling facility had to accommodate the world’s largest, 650-foot draw bench, the building had to be long enough to accommodate the machine. The bilding measures 880 by 440 feet and 28 feet high with large windows, 15- x 15-feet and 8- x 8-feet, used to break up the long length of the building. A grid system of reveals helps minimize the large scale of the building and introduces a significant amount of natural lighting. 

Brushed aluminum accent panels in the reception area were designed to be consistent with the grid reveals that are articulated on the exterior of the building. Designers also used copper and aluminum throughout the building to represent old technology, the copper being replaced by new technology, the superconductive silver wire. 

Due to the high heat used in their manufacturing process two chillers, circulate cool water throughout the manufacturing equipment and facility. The state-of-the-art-building pulls huge amounts of electricity and two internal substations are located in an internal compound. The 10-megavolt system is powerful enough to generate 24,000 amps of power. The system is connected to two substations outside the building. 

Cutler installed over 10,000 linear feet of hot and chilled water piping, three cooling towers that circulate 5,400 gallons per minute, 2,800-ton centrifugal chillers, 23 rooftop-mounted heating and cooling units with a cooling capacity of 60-tons each and two 600hp boilers. The facility also has an exterior nitrogen and oxygen tank farm. Two separate utility substations feed a double-ended medium voltage switchgear. The medium voltage switchgear is equipped with a manual transfer switch for redundancy and it feeds four individual double-ended unit substations within the facility. The double-ended substations distribute power throughout the facility.

DIV 03: Tilt-Panel Insulation: Thermomass by Composite Technologies, Inc.
DIV 07: EPDM: Firestone; Smoke Curtains: Smoke and Fire Prevention Systems.
DIV 08: Vault Door: Overly Door; Special Doors: Overhead Door.
DIV 15: BMS: Johnson Controls. 

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