Photo: Lea Babcock Scherer

MINNEAPOLIS, September 11, 2017
— The Herman Miller Design Yard in Holland, Michigan, designed by MSR Design, is the recipient of the 2017 AIA Minnesota 25 Year Award. The project was led by Jeffrey Scherer, FAIA, principal-in-charge. The collaborative design process included team members Lynn BarnhouseJeff KelleyThomas Meyer, FAIAJames Larson, Barry Petit, and Garth Rockcastle, FAIA.   

Established by the American Institute of Architects Minnesota in 1981, the prestigious 25 Year Award annually recognizes one exemplary architectural project that stands the test of time. The award recognizes completed building projects — either individual buildings or groups of buildings — completed at least 25 but not more than 50 years ago, designed by firms with architects registered and practicing professionally in Minnesota. 

International, award-winning furniture designer and manufacturer Herman Miller, Inc., brought its design, research, product design, and engineering divisions together in this 215,000 square-foot facility in western Michigan to increase collaboration and reduce the time from idea to market in a highly competitive arena. For the first time, designers, engineers, marketing, and manufacturing teams could collaborate in the process. The design features custom, modified pre-manufactured buildings that incorporate sustainable strategies, including native prairie plantings, micro-zone energy efficiency, ample daylight, and water-retention features. 

After 27 years, the building continues to age gracefully, with flexible spaces that have been modified and updated over the past quarter century to reflect the ever-changing demands of the furniture industry. Improvements in how people work, evolving technologies, and an emphasis on collaboration have enabled the company to remain at the forefront. The Design Yard embodies the spirit of collective design and production, and the facilities function with the well-being of the people who work there in mind—all of which reflect the company’s mission to rethink the workplace with its products. 

The AIA Minnesota 25 Year Award jury included leading Minnesota architects Jonathan Bartling, AIA, LEED AP, Director of Digital Practice, HGA Architects and Engineers; Reneé Cheng, FAIA, Professor and Associate Dean of Research, University of Minnesota School of Architecture; Craig Rafferty, FAIA, Principal, RRTL Architects; and Pete Smith, FAIA, President and CEO, BWBR Architects, Inc. 

In their selection of the Herman Miller Design Yard, the jurors noted the project’s seamless integration of the surrounding agricultural context into the design of the facility, its innovative sustainable design elements, and its continued functionality as an adaptable design lab for a company that is constantly rethinking the workplace.  

Principal project consultants include: Jack Snow Engineering, mechanical engineer; BKBM Engineers, Inc., mechanical/electrical engineer; Meyer Borgman Johnson, structural engineer; Moore & Bruggink, Inc. civil engineer; Stonebrooke Engineering, land surveyor; Damon Farber Associates, landscape architect; and Elzinga & Volkers, Inc., construction manager. 

MSR Design will receive the award at the annual AIA Minnesota Awards Dinner on December 8, 2017, at International Market Square in Minneapolis. Learn more about the 25 Year Award here.

The American Institute of Architects Minnesota, founded in 1892, is dedicated to strengthening our communities, improving our built environment and providing exceptional design. For more information on the organization and Minnesota architectural firms, reference our website, visit our Facebook page and pick up a copy of Architecture MN, our award-winning magazine.