JST Harrisburg Production Engineering Center

JST Harrisburg Production Engineering Center

Project Details

Project Name
JST Harrisburg Production Engineering Center
Arcari + Iovino Architects
J.S.T. Corporation
Project Types
Project Scope
New Construction
79,394 sq. feet
Year Completed
Shared by
Madeleine D'Angelo
Arcari + Iovino Architects, Project Architects
Project Status

This article first appeared in ARCHITECT's November/December 2022 issue.

Osaka, Japan-based architecture studio Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects & Associates begins every project with a commitment to improving the land where it builds. For a recently completed Harrisburg, Pa., production facility for JST—a Japanese company that makes solderless electrical connectors—that mantra also fostered an exploration of the factory typology itself. Developed in partnership with New Jersey–based architect of record Arcari + Iovino Architects, the 79,394-square-foot building presents as perhaps the furthest aesthetic point from the typical rectilinear offices and warehouses that abut its site. Designed to evoke the form of a root system, clad entirely in alternating Douglas fir timber siding and floor-to-ceiling glazing, and surrounded by a tree-filled garden with a walking path by Osaka-based WIN Landscape Planning & Design, the JST Harrisburg Production Center reenvisions what an engineering-based workplace and factory can be—and look like.

The project began a decade ago, and after a series of starts and stops through the schematic design phase, the Japanese contractor Shimizu Corp. brought on Arcari + Iovino Architects as architect of record to develop and document its design collaboratively with design architect Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects. The client’s brief called for meeting spaces and offices, a communal pantry area, and engineering and production spaces. What the design delivers is a highly contextual facility that embodies a “Japanese sense of harmony to the project,” says principal Ryuichi Ashizawa. “This is also an opportunity for a Japanese client and a Japanese architect to challenge the idea of architecture in the United States … Thus, we had three guiding dialogues: the past and the future, human beings and the natural realm, and the relationship between Japanese and American design.”

Using the site’s natural topography, the firms introduced a series of swales to improve the water cycle, which had been damaged by surrounding industrial development. Controlling runoff means that the landscape now holds more water, and over time, natural growth will result in and encourage the life of new plantings, which include varieties of oak and maple trees, American beeches, and Heritage River birches. “The project is aimed at regenerating the forest” on the site, Ashizawa says. Along with extensive river pattern and sun studies, these swales also helped to determine the building’s overall form.

The facility centers around a gently zigzagging, 0.62-mile-long communal gallery corridor hung with artworks and permeated by the sound of running water courtesy of a tiered feature in the main entrance that is an extension of the swales outside. Built with local stone, planted with indigenous ground cover and moss, and complete with a water-powered suikinkutsu, a Japanese garden device that produces music, the feature is a reminder of its environment. “I’ve spent the last 30 years of my architectural career trying to keep water out of buildings,” says Edward Arcari, AIA, principal of Arcari + Iovino Architects, “but here, we worked out some details so water actually flows into the building and through the lobby.”

Entered from the front parking lot, the workplace teems with natural light. Conference rooms, offices, and the cafeteria are located in extended tendrils that allow necessary privacy while affording landscape views under shallow cantilevered roofs. Deeper into the building, the fir walls are less punctuated by windows to fit the functional requirements of the production spaces. The fractal plan’s linear form encourages workers to move throughout the space and ends in a loading dock from which finished products are shipped. “RAA looks at and studies everything. Nothing is standard in this building,” says Arcari of the bespoke project. From furniture to light switches, all interior design components were custom-made in Japan. The timber structure, however, is entirely local—fabricated and assembled on-site by Amish woodworkers based in Lancaster, Pa.

The international design partnership between Arcari + Iovino Architects and Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects was such a success that they are currently working together on six additional new JST facilities in Detroit. Arcari chalks it up to having “a visionary client, a visionary design architect, and hardworking teams to support all of that.” Consistent communication between all parties, and an experienced conductor of the subcontractor orchestra, also helped. For Arcari, the project has invigorated an excitement toward new construction methods in wood. “What this project proves is that you can design a very functional operation like this and still have it be a one-of-a-kind, beautiful timber facility,” he says. “It doesn’t need to be in a boxy structure.” With this design, says Ashizawa, “we were able to significantly change the natural environment and people’s consciousness about it.”

Project: JST Harrisburg Production Engineering Center, Harrisburg, Pa.
Client/Owner: J.S.T. Corporation
Architect : Ryuichi Ashizawa & Associates, Osaka, Japan. Ryuichi Ashizawa; Gordon Evans (principal)
Project Architects: Arcari + Iovino Architects, New Jersey. Edward Arcari, AIA (principal); Tania Moustafa (project architect)
Mechanical Engineer: ES Associates (JPN); Princeton Engineering Group (USA)
Structural Engineer: Hirokazu Toki & Takuo Nagai (JPN); Fire Tower Engineered Timber, Pennoni Associates (USA)
Electrical Engineer: Princeton Engineering Group (USA)
Civil Engineer: Hoover Engineering
General Contractor: Shimizu North America
Landscape Architect: WIN Landscape Planning & Design (JPN)
Timber Frame Design: B&D Builders & Mid-Atlantic Timberframes
Size: 79,394 square feet

Adhesives, Coatings and Sealants: DuraSeal Polyurethane 350 VOC (Hardwood Floors), Dowsil (Silicon Sealant- Skylight), Dow Corning (Exterior Caulking), Sika Sikaflex (Interior Joint Sealants)
Appliances: GE (Dishwasher), Maytag (Washer/Dryer) Bathroom Fixtures: Toto (WC, Urinals, Faucets), Kaldewei (Lavatories),
Cabinets: Custom made- Beck & Ness Woodworking LLC
Ceilings: Mid-Atlantic Timber Frames (framing), Jackel (Cedar Ceilings)
Concrete: Rohrer’s Concrete, W.R. Meadows (expansion joints)
Countertops: Custom fabricated Reclaimed White Oak & Stainless Steel
Exterior Wall Systems: Cypress Wood Siding
Flooring: Mullican Hardwood Flooring (Unfinished White Oak Hardwood), Marble Systems Inc. (Bathroom Slate Tile), Mapei Kerapoxy CQ (Grout), Doma (Japanese Craftsmen)
Furniture: White Oak, custom made in Japan
Glass: Vitro Flat Glass LLC, W.A. Wilson Inc.
HVAC: Daikin (Controls & Equipment), Greenheck (Fans & Louvers), Skil-aire (Packaged Units), Titus (Diffusers/Grilles), Qmark (Electric Heat)
Insulation: Dow Styrofoam
Kitchen fixtures: See appliances
Lighting Control Systems: Audacy Controls
Lighting: Lightolier (Signify), Chloride (Signify), WAC Lighting, Spectrum Lighting, Liton, Pure Edge Lighting Masonry and Stone: Amico (Metal Lath), ITW Brands (Tap Con Fasteners), Lehigh Hanson (Masonry Cement), Dunn Rite Sand and Gravel (Sand), Metal: United Weld Services LLC (Stairs & Rails)
Plumbing and Water System: Elkay (Sinks), Mirabelle (Sinks), Grohe (Faucets), Guardian (Eyewash), AO Smith (HWH), Eemax (HWH), AMtrol (Expansion Tank), Stancor (Sump Pump), Zoeller (Ball Valves), Woodford (Wall Hydrant), Proflo (Trap Primers), Watts (Backflow preventers & reducing valves), JR Smith (Floor Drains & Cleanouts)
Roofing: Firestone (Rubberguard EPDM), Legacy Landscape Materials (Crushed Stone Ballast), Metal Tech-USA (Standing Seam Metal Roofing) Site and Landscape Products: Davis Landscaping
Timber Frame Structural System: B&D Builders & Mid-Atlantic Timberframes
Walls: Douglas Fir Siding & Douglas Fir Plywood
Windows and Doors: YKK AP (Windows & Exterior Doors), Acurlite (Skylight), Mesker (Door Frames), Overhead Door (Coiling Doors), Dorma Controls, Allegion Door Controls, Hager Hardware, Assa Abloy (Glass Door Hardware), B&D Builders (Custom Wood Doors)

Source: https://www.architectmagazine.com

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