The remodeling and expansion of the W.E. Upjohn Institute, a nonprofit organization devoted to employment research, was a job to be handled with subtlety and care. The existing facility was a long-standing fixture within the community, a distinctive, modern structure prominently located on a major street within the downtown business district and adjacent to a residential historic neighborhood.
The expansion and update is a contemporary design that mirrors details and materials used in the existing building, to create the sense that the addition has always been a part of the facility. Exterior features include brick, marble, insulated metal panels, and a glass curtain wall. While the original entrance to the building was difficult to find, a walkway closely lined with trees now creates a clear, yet natural path to the main entry. Once inside, a view of the courtyard, which acts as a centerpiece of the building, gives a refreshing sense of bringing the outdoors into the interior environment. Extensive use of natural light and rich wood-veneer finishes extends the theme of harmony between nature and the manmade.
With sensitivity to the original character of the building, the W.E. Upjohn Institute project rejuvenates and expands the facility without altering the organization’s established identity.