During a competitive, qualifications-based selection process, CSO was chosen as the designer for the flagship GE Brilliant Factory in Ontario, Canada. CSO was the successful candidate due to a unique combination of prior experience with similar GE projects and the ability to develop high-level design solutions and functionality required for manufacturing and logistics projects.
The facility was designed to manufacture GE’s Waukesha reciprocating gas engines; components for compression, mechanical drive, and power generation; and components for GE transportation diesel engines. As the project neared completion, Innio acquired the building along with GE’s distributed power business.
GE charged the design team to deliver an engine manufacturing facility for state-of-the-art manufacturing processes that would be fully connected to the industrial internet, providing real time data analytics and feedback to the manufacturing floor personnel. The facility was designed to provide inspiring and collaborative work and meeting spaces to empower and uplift GE’s self-directed workforce. The facility incorporated numerous sustainable building and site design strategies, including efficient HVAC and electrical systems, recycled content, an energy efficient exterior envelope, and an abundance of natural light in both the office and manufacturing areas.
The project design principles included: creating brilliant, luminous working environments within the plant and office spaces by introducing generous amounts of natural daylight; putting the Multimodal Assembly Area on display from the Main Lobby, providing a large window wall between the 2 areas; and using daylighting as a metaphor for the “Brilliant Factory,” illuminating GE’s advanced engine manufacturing technology.
CSO served as the design architect on the project and collaborated with B+H Architects of Toronto, Ontario, Canada to deliver the project. CSO also provided interior design services for the office portion of the project.
The GE Aviation LEAP Engine Facility is the second of its kind in the United States and the third project of this type CSO has designed for GE. The facility features some of the most advanced manufacturing techniques in the world and represents a major milestone in technology development in this country.
The 35’ clear height manufacturing space included 80’ structural spans with 12.5 ton beam cranes, 10” thick, ultra-flat, polished concrete floors and generous amounts of natural light provided by expansive clerestory windows. The tiered ceiling panels within the assembly space help humanize the scale. They serve as a space transition and a subtle representation of flight. The finishes are intentionally light, clean, and neutral. This notion relates directly to the GE brand and the idea of intentional design without compromise.
The office/administrative portion of the building was designed to express the aerodynamic curvature and the composite construction techniques of the LEAP engine, most notably its fan blade, by dramatically incorporating several overlapping layers of sinuously curved metal, glass, and steel.
The interior design reinforces the intentional nature of the engine while embracing the technology. The central greeting point is a reception desk designed as a seamless, clean cone and constructed of solid surface. Beautifully crafted metal composite triangles are suspended above the reception desk representing the combustion technology present within the LEAP engine. In addition, this sculptural element contributes to the notion of movement so dominantly present within the architecture.
The CSO-designed expansion of this facility, including equipment, represents a $50 million investment to modernize and grow GE Aviation’s existing Hooksett manufacturing facility. The facility, with nearly 900 employees, manufactures rotating parts for GE’s military and commercial jet engines. The expansion will significantly increase manufacturing output and technological capacity for key components of GE’s next-generation LEAP engines.
This was the fourth large-scale project CSO has partnered with GE Aviation on, including two plants in Mississippi, $100 million LEAP assembly plant in Lafayette, Indiana, and a $120 million Brilliant Factory in Welland, Ontario, Canada.