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2021 Design Team of the Year finalist: Miller Engineering

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It was a very short move last year for Miller Engineering PC to its new headquarters. It sits just in front of its former office.

However, project architect Kyle Yarbrough of Buxton Kubik Design Collective said the team was given the charge by Miller Engineering owner Travis Miller to make the two-story, 8,700-square-foot building a dramatic change from its previous home. Yarbrough called the project “a celebration of structure.”

“We wanted to showcase everything and have everything be open so that possible clients can really see what Miller Engineering does,” Yarbrough said.

The space includes private and open offices, conference rooms, a workroom, break room, fitness area, testing lab and outdoor spaces. Yarbrough said one of the project’s unique design aspects was for the architectural components to take a back seat to the structural ones. About two-thirds of the building is cantilevered above ground and features a 70-foot long Vierendeel truss that extends from the floor to the roof.

“We wanted to make it so that the building would appear to be floating. That also impacted our material decisions,” he said. “To achieve the cantilevers, and also the wood that we wanted, we used those open Vierendeel trusses that you see on bridges. I haven’t really seen a building with those utilized before. It was pretty unique.”

Although Yarbrough said shortages of material supplies for the project weren’t much of a problem, it was a challenge to properly shape the building to lay correctly on the site. The property is landlocked and had limited access and laydown areas for equipment and materials, he said.

The project also required extensive and frequent communication between the design and construction teams. Yarbrough is quick to credit the work of the project client, which also happened to be the structural engineer. He said Miller Engineering employees were involved in the design, build and installation of several components, including several pieces of furniture and a massive timber staircase.

“(Miller) and his team were involved in the entire process of this project. Their engineers really put in a great amount of effort,” he said.

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