When Dan Taylor, the high-tech entrepreneur who founded the Taylor Group (later ManagedOps.com), sought a corporate headquarters site, he envisioned a facility of about 100,000 square feet, including a very large (for its day) server farm and ample office space for his creative and ever-expanding development team. His vision also included a building with a mill- or loft-like feel, with plenty of access to daylight, lots of casual break-out space, and onsite amenities such as a fitness room.
SMP’s design breakthrough was to base the building on a pinwheel-shaped plan made up of modules 60 feet wide. The pinwheel gave the “old mill” that rambling, asymmetrical look of smaller facilities, while the 60-foot width assured that no individual workspace would be more than 30 feet from a window. We organized the building around a central atrium, 120 feet long, narrow and covered by a continuous skylight. The atrium floor held common space such as the café, while the glazed wall looked into departments that Dan wanted to show off on his tour—including a NASA-like control room that served as a confidence builder for prospective clients.
To make the exterior, brick-clad wall feel more substantial and mill-like, we detailed it with corbels and other traditional details not usually seen in a veneer. Brick was turned back through the wall at the window openings, and brick interior sills helped create the solid massive effect. The upper floor, housing the creative development team, was treated as attic space, and operable skylights were substituted for windows. ManagedOps moved in to occupy two-thirds of the building, with a whole floor available for anticipated expansion. Within two years, however, the dot-com bubble burst and the limitless growth curve went flat. Now, a decade later, Brady Sullivan occupies the “mill.”
The initial [client] conversation went something like this: 'Could you folks design me an old mill building that we could then renovate into cool loft space?' 'Sure we could, but I think you would want to go right to the final product without the renovation part…' 'When can we get together?'