The Cummins Office Building—a.k.a. the COB—was designed at the end of the 1970s energy crisis and features precast concrete walls with narrow horizontal bands of glass and mirrors, north-facing glazing, and skylights intended to maximize light while minimizing energy consumption. To understand the original design motivation and mechanics, the RATIO team meticulously studied every iconic detail from the exposed octagonal concrete columns and coffered ceilings; the end-cut wood, tinted glass and mirrors; to the museum-quality art installations popular with visitors and tour groups. This enabled the team to discern which elements must not be altered, and which required adaptation or replacement in the effort to modernize and create a true Cummins Smart Office that prioritizes employee experience.
Updated finishes and new LED lights improve the building’s lighting levels and acoustics. Open interior staircases have been realigned to offer new visual wayfinding cues, enhance vertical circulation and connectivity, and bring light into the lower-level meeting spaces. Reconfigured neighborhoods of desks maximize the building’s available real estate, ensure all employees a main-level workstation, and ease circulation along the building’s spine. A new central hub provides much-needed space for collaborating and socializing. And film now covers the abundant mirrors that often had a disorienting effect on employees trying to navigate the COB.