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Photo via Fast Company/Gensler
Photo via Fast Company/Gensler

To put its engineers closer to the manufacturing process, Boeing devised a clever fix: Building an office building right inside the factory.

This article in Fast Company outlines the process, and it’s pretty amazing. This new two-story office building has 120,000 square feet of space, within a 1.4 million square foot factory. In the past, engineers had up to a 20-minute walk from their offices on the Renton campus to get to the factory floor. Now, they can pop out of the office right onto the floor.

Built using the factory’s existing exterior walls, the new office building is “arranged in a doughnut around a central interior courtyard.” They also removed coverings over skylights that had been placed during World War II for security purposes to reveal natural light throughout the entire building. Gensler, the firm that has designed buildings for Facebook and Airbnb, took on the project for Boeing.

There are many other challenges designers had to face to make this office ready within the factory, including noise control, but the story is well worth the read. And the pictures of the new space are beautiful, proving that great design and functional space can co-exist.

Boeing engineered the fix as result of demand: The company is set to make as many as 52 Boeing 737s per month until 2018 to keep up with demand, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

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