Text description provided by the architects.
The JST Production Engineering Center is the Japanese electrical connector company’s facility in Swatara Township, Pa. The 52,000 square-foot design, development, and production center houses offices, connecting decks, a lunchroom, and manufacturing space with a machine center, automation area, quality control, and shipping and receiving.
At first glance, the JST Production and Engineering Center’s beautiful and expansive single-level timber and glass design captivates you.
The geometry of the building in and of itself is striking, with more than 70 corners inside and out. It draws you in as it “flows down a gentle series of sculpted swales for more than half a mile,” according to B+D Builders. The building represents a deep connection to nature, taking inspiration from tree roots.
As the building flows back, it becomes taller and wider to represent this growth. This series of connected wood structures reveal an unexpected, novel and yet sustainable design approach using poplar laminated beams, deep roof overhangs, flow-through ventilation and a floor-to-ceiling glass exterior (composed of 40% glass). The wood components of the building are impressive, having been cut, milled and assembled individually, so none of the 5,000+ pieces used are alike.
A project of this magnitude, with intricate timber and glass design detail and aggressive sustainability requirements, meant that all parties collaborated often to identify challenges and overcome them. Many challenges have been referenced by B+D Builders, including the site gradation, soffit pitch, and long beam spans. However, the most notable feat of glass and glazing engineering was YKK AP’s creation of what we believe to be the first thermally broken veneer wall system.
This innovative solution was born out of the need to create a seamless sightline and extend the flow of the timber to the frame of the building, matching the existing depth of the three-inch timber beams and achieving the floor-to-ceiling glass and flow-through ventilation. A horizontal aluminum tube was then set above and below the casement window, so that the YES SSG TU Vented Window could be set into the curtain wall pocket for easy installation.
The champagne painted finish of the sustainable aluminum framing system blends impeccably well with the surrounding timber. This is truly an intriguing and original architectural project that leveraged every partner’s capabilities to the greatest extent to bring an inspiring vision to reality..
JST Production Engineering Center Gallery