Panels Provide Balance


MORIN products set New Balance headquarters in motion
BRISTOL, Conn.  During the planning stages of the company’s new office headquarters, Jim and Anne Davis, owners of New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., insisted on a building that reflected what their company was all about: speed, motion and high performance. A variety of panel products from Morin, A Kingspan Group Company, aided the design team in achieving those goals.

“It was a fun project, a great project,” says Mark Sardegna, AIA, LEED AP, vice president of Elkus Manfredi Architects in Boston. “We were approached by Jim Davis and his wife Anne to help design their fourth headquarters building since the 70s, all in this neighborhood. They are very committed to the Brighton Landing neighborhood and have transformed their company into a huge success. They’re not Nike, they’re not Reebok, but they’re one of the best and they have the only American-made products among those companies. That’s a big deal for them.”

Sardegna said the former headquarters did not speak to what was going on inside. That’s certainly not the case with the new building. “It’s open, it has no walls and very high ceilings,” he says. “It was inspired by the company’s shoe factory (in Lawrence, Mass.). Jim Davis says he wanted a building shaped like a mill and that’s what he got.”

The New Balance Headquarters, which is up for LEED Platinum certification, is approximately 300,000 square feet, not including 500 parking spaces. The building is 130 feet tall, 500 feet long and 100 feet wide. Each story is 15 feet tall, floor to ceiling.

“It sits right near the Massachusetts Turnpike,” Sardegna says. “About a quarter-million people drive by it daily, about 100 feet away and then there are all the trains coming in from New York. There’s a lot of motion going on outside and a lot of motion going on inside.”

To help design the facility the Davises had visions of, Sardegna specified wall panel products from MORIN. “We try to use MORIN a lot,” he says. “We’re always trying to balance cost with high quality and their products did what we were looking for. They’re technical staff was extremely helpful through the design process, letting us know what their products could and could not do. We were asking a lot with this design.”

Sardegna says the MORIN technical staff was responsive to any and all questions in a timely manner, helping the design and construction stay on schedule.

MORIN’s MX 1.0 panel (6,426 square feet) and X-12 panel (662 square feet) were installed on the two-story podium. “It was important to us to have high-quality products on the first two stories,” Sardegna says. “That’s where visitors and employees feel and touch the building.”

The company’s O-24 crimp-curved panel (3,107 square feet) was installed as a cladding on the structure’s penthouse. Karas & Karas Glass of Boston installed the entire outer skin of the building, including the three MORIN products listed above and 13,547 square feet of the O-24 panels throughout the exterior.

“The biggest challenge was waiting for the snow to melt,” says Steve Gorski, project manager for Karas & Karas. “It took a long time for the 6 or 7 feet of snow to melt on the roof.”
Gorski says the installation went well because his crews are familiar with the products and this is a Karas & Karas specialty. “The MORIN products are easy to work with, it’s architectural siding,” he says. “You need to be careful, but we had some good guys on this job. It looks great.”

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