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It's back to the future for this contractor

Poettker Construction’s new headquarters in rural Breese, Ill., is recognized with a Bronze Award in BD+C’s 2020 Building Team Awards.

November 02, 2020 |
Poettker Construction's new headquarters

Poettker Construction’s new headquarters brings together internal departments that had been spread over five buildings. Image: Courtesy of Poettker Construction

Anchored in the heart of a small rural community, Poettker Construction’s new headquarters stemmed from a 2016 strategic planning session to grow the company’s brand and retain talent.

The company, which over the previous decade had experienced significant expansion, was looking to bring together internal departments that were spread over five buildings, and to add far more collaborative spaces.

The concept from the project’s design architect Oculus Inc. was a historic German bank barn, which are barns built into a bank or hillside. That idea resonated with Poettker Construction, which served as this project’s owner and design-build leader. Oculus Inc. shared its Revit models to illustrate its vision, and created a 3D virtual reality presentation of the new headquarters to show at the groundbreaking ceremony.


The interior design included glassed-enclosed private spaces that allow for intimate collaboration. Image: Joe Dietrich


Fitting the building’s height—which boasts a 37-ft-high interior ceiling—within the context of an adjacent residential neighborhood and the architectural style of the traditional bank barn was creatively addressed by working with the topography of the site.

Energy efficiency is a signature feature of this headquarters. The owner’s goal was to reduce the building’s energy consumption by 75% and its carbon footprint by 65%. To abet that goal, the building’s design called for the addition of a solar farm and LED lighting throughout, as well as fluid application of a vapor barrier onto the building’s envelope.

Another key element was a geothermal heating and cooling system, utilizing the lake on premises as well as wells drilled 300 ft deep.

The headquarters’ exterior façade, with steel and glulam structural features, complements the owner’s diverse construction portfolio, and the materials used allowed for unique framing configurations.


Steel and glulam are the prominent materials used on the building’s façade. Image; Joe Dietrich


The interior design was informed by extensive interviews with management and department heads. The cubicles are tailored to a 21st-century environment with sit-to-stand workstations and open collaboration spaces. Other tech features include an in-house training room that can accommodate seminars, meetings, and learning opportunities for up to 100 people. Connections to facilitate internal and external interactions among departments and clients made working at home easier during the coronavirus pandemic.

The design had to address privacy concerns for departments like accounting and human resources, which are now hosted on the building’s mezzanine level next to Poettker’s executive offices. The mezzanine overlooks the company’s operations department, so the designers installed acoustical ceiling clouds above the accounting department to dampen the sound transfer between levels.


A large lobby and reception area lead to stairs that connect the building’s two work areas. Image: Alise O'Brien


On-site health and wellness amenities include a 24-7 private fitness center for staff, and a 3.5-acre outdoor sanctuary with a lake, waterfall, and landscaping that lead to a walking path.

The headquarters, which opened in October 2019, hosts events to engage and interest people of all ages in the construction industry. Last year, over 200 college and high school students took part in workforce and informational tours of the building.


The headquarters premises include an outdoor sanctuary with a lake, fountains, and walking paths. Image: Joe Dietrich


Submitting firm, Architect and Project manager: Oculus Inc.
Owner/developer and GC/CM: Poettker Construction
Structural Engineer: IMEG Corp.
MEP Engineer: BRiC Partnership
Size: 39,400 sf
Construction time: July 2018 to September 2019
Cost: NA
Delivery method: Design/Build
Photo credit: Alise O’Brien Photography

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