Herkules Machine Factory, Pittsburgh, USA

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.

Within the scheme 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 situated at the front of building; 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 afforded by the full height glazing design. Sun glare is subtly managed by semi transparent screens. On its west facing side, the building offers scenic views of the neighbouring woodland area.

The reception area, double height lobby and stairwell organise the building's south facing composition. Externally, the facade is finished with a striking roof sign in perforated mesh.

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 behind it on the roof.