control building architecture

Control Building Architecture

Firmitas, Utilitas, Venustas is Latin for Getting It Right

BAW Architecture designs control buildings for manufacturing, refining and production operations for Fortune 100 companies around the globe.

We have designed more than 100 control buildings and rooms that have been built over the last 30 years for clients such as Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, Fluor, and Honeywell. We integrate interior design, human factors engineering and architecture to produce the world’s safest and most productive control buildings for the petrochemical industry, oil refineries, pipeline control, mining, transportation, and utilities. We have designed everything from control center campuses spanning a hundred acres in British Columbia to top-secret military facilities for the U.S. Air Force. These buildings offer state-of-the-art security and are designed to both prevent and withstand the worst disasters imaginable.

But that only begins to tell the story.

Buildings have an identity, for better or worse. Unless one is a professional architect, this identity is usually appreciated on a subconscious level. People know instinctively if a space is good, if it’s appropriate and fitting. They can feel if the lighting, shapes and colors come together in a way that is both functional and harmonious. They rarely want to hear about geometry, proportion, formalism, symmetry, composition or the coordination of materials. They just want it to be right. And that’s our job at BAW Architecture—to get it right the first time.

The history of getting it right

The Roman architect Vitruvius described the foundational principles of architecture in the 1st century BC. A good building, he wrote, must satisfy three principles: firmitas, utilitas and venustas. For Vitruvius, a good building must have:

  • Durability – a building should stand up robustly and endure over time.
  • Utility – it should be suitable for the purposes for which it is used.
  • Beauty – it should be aesthetically pleasing.

At BAW these principles inform all of our control building architecture. And, if we may be so bold, we will add our own spin. Our control buildings must have:

  • Utility – function always leads, forms always follows.
  • Durability – a building must be robust—even blast-resistant—and endure over time.
  • Beauty – the end result is beautiful, but that does not cost extra.
  • Value – it must be economical while being of high quality.
  • Results – it must be safe, productive and profitable.

Thank you for the very productive visit this past week. I appreciated the time and effort you and your staff put into this past week’s review. It was highly successful in my view. I am so pleased that (we) have you as our architect on this control center. It is a great looking building, laid out perfectly. I can’t wait to see the real thing.

Operations Manager

Right means fit for purpose

Our experience in control building architecture guides us in getting the right “amount” of building for each client. It’s important to get not only the substance and functionality right, but also the image. In other words, the end result, whether full operations campus or industrial control room, should not be a bunker, nor should it look gold-plated. Appropriate value is key in both reality and in perception. For example, if dignitaries visit, everyone wants a building they can be proud of, but also be assured that money was not wasted. Nobody wants a WWI-era bunker, but industrial control room design doesn’t need to look like the Taj Mahal either. BAW understands this balance, and we take time to understand each client, to get it right.

The end goal—and result—is return on investment for you, the client. Read more on the realities of ROI in control building architecture and how BAW achieves this in a published article written by BAW founder Brad Adams Walker. Request the full article.

Learn more about why BAW Architecture is the leader in 24/7 mission-critical control building design, or contact us to start a conversation.

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