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Reese Hackman State College Corporate Office


A Thoughtful Design Encourages Collaboration and Unity

One thing Reese Hackman partners liked about the site for their new headquarters was the meadow. Wouldn’t it be great, they said, if we could plop the building down right in it so that our staff looks out on a beautiful and iconic Central Pennsylvania scene? Being engineers, they also saw the practical side. A meadow landscapes itself, minimal mowing required.

In 2004, the company, which was then known as Reese Engineering, acquired the six-acre State College site and duly planned the 11,000 square foot, one-story building to take advantage of the setting. To continually remind the people inside of their connection to nature, the design made it easy to see beyond the walls from almost any vantage. This required a lot of glass as well as more subtle touches, such as work-station partitions low enough not to block the view.

Creating a Space for Productivity and Comradery

Besides creating a sense of privacy to promote focus, the low partitions meet another of the company’s goals – to encourage collaboration and collegiality. How else does the building do this? Well, as a concrete manifestation of every staff member’s value, every workstation is the same size. Also, to enable casual interactions, the building incorporates a well-equipped fitness room for workouts, and a bistro and kitchen for lunch and special gatherings. With a large fireplace and club chairs, the bistro resembles the great room of a nice home – an inviting, hospitable place to relax, chat or think.

When the Reese offices opened in 2006, these kinds of workplace amenities were still pretty fashion-forward. In time, they became de rigueur, emblematic in particular of Silicon Valley.

But, as the poet said, the best-laid plans do often go awry.

A Commitment to Strong Corporate Values Goes Far Beyond a Building

In spite of the windows, the lunches, the workout room, and even the low partitions, many Reese Hackman employees today choose to work from home, at least part of the time. Still, the connection to nature and the spirit of productive collegiality thrive, distinctive characteristics of the Reese Hackman culture. The way it turns out, a well-designed building can do a lot to enhance corporate values, but the underlying commitment to those values is what really matters.

As for the meadow, the building site’s topography required it to be bulldozed first thing. Ouch. In the end, though, even that worked out. To mitigate flood risk, local ordinances mandated construction of a large retention basin which today, mowed minimally, looks for all the world like a Central Pennsylvania meadow.