Exterior view. The form was driven by function, including a human-scaled entry, a glassy front facade curved towards the front door and a soaring angular form
encapsulating a two-story auditorium. Building geometry, building materials and texture and dramatic lighting create an iconic landmark for the Middletown community.
All images: © Cory Klein Photography
Case study: AK Steel Research and Innovation Center
Lawrence DiGennaro, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
AK Steel’s new Research and Inno- vation Center enables innovation through its diversity of spaces.
Combined with pilot steel processing,
testing and an open office environment
that facilitates collaboration, AK Steel is
transforming today’s steel and is on the
cutting edge of metallurgical science.
The U.S. steel industry has faced
serious market challenges over the past
decades, including global overcapacity
and competitive alternative materials. In
response, one steel company, headquartered in the Midwest, made a renewed
commitment to innovation to better
meet the needs of its global customers.
To continue to differentiate itself and
create effective alternatives to materi-
als such as amorphous metals, carbon
fiber and aluminum, AK Steel continues
to drive innovation by developing new
processes and new types of steel that are
stronger, more formable and offer great-
er corrosion resistance and energy effi-
ciency than previous grades of steel. For
consumers, this means cars and trucks
that can be made lighter, more fuel
efficient, and longer-lasting; and appli-
ances and electrical grids that are more
efficient and more cost effective than if
made with other materials.
As part of its rich, 118-year history in
steel innovation, AK Steel’s predecessor
created the steel industry’s first industrial
research organization in 1910, adjacent to
their headquarters, to provide steel solutions to customers such as Westinghouse
Electric and Ford Motor Company. In
• Reorganize and streamline workflow,
allowing for more time to advance new
• Provide diverse spaces for research
professionals to think, collaborate, dream,
work and develop.
• Create places to hold corporate meetings and drive customer collaboration for
new product development.
• Fundamentally transform the relationship between the office work spaces
and the laboratories to enable greater
connections between peers and the project
work in their labs.
• Combine spaces from a wide range of
disciplines, from metallurgy to chemistry
to physics, with multiple facets of the steel
product and process research, including