A. O. Smith Breaks Ground

This Research + Development Center at Park Place shares the magnitude of their water technology revolution happening inside with the world outside. And what a revolution it is. Inside, the laboratory space gurgles and flows with process knowledge that empowers this global leader to constantly reinvent itself. Prototype, coatings, thermal, analytical, air/water filtration and biosafety level 2 laboratories were designed with flexibility as the priority to foster continued regeneration of ideas, solutions and processes within the 43,795 s.f. of space. The outcome of this Milwaukee-based water research is leading-edge solutions for A.O. Smith’s water heaters, boilers and water purification equipment distributed to commercial and residential users in more than 60 countries. Outside, the sparkling, flowing exterior of metal panels and vertical ribbons of glass balances the need for interior wall space, a high-functioning lab, and natural daylight. “We tried to keep a modular language around the building,” notes Scott Justus, project leader, Zimmerman Architectural Studios. “The proprietary nature of the R+D space called for natural lighting solutions that kept visible access to the interior to a minimum.”