March 9, 2017

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For this weeks Epstein Throwback Thursday we visit October 1974 for the opening of the Digital Equipment Corporations (DEC) new two-story, 71,000 square foot office and training center in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. This project featured a full-service Epstein collaboration which meant that not only did we provide architecture and engineering services for the building, but our civil engineering subsidiary at the time was responsible for site development, our interiors division provided programming, space planning and design, and our construction entity, known in 74 as the McKinley Co., served as the general contractor.

This DEC building utilized a fast-track design/construction method which allowed for excavation of the site to begin immediately after client commitment to the project. Meaning, that in a little over nine months from groundbreaking this facility was fully operational.


Besides providing office space for DEC staff, this building also included classrooms, computer rooms, research laboratories and product demonstration rooms, as well as surface parking for over 300 cars.


For those of you not familiar with your mid-70s computer companies, DEC was a leading American vendor of computer systems, including computers, software and digital communication/storage devices like Ethernet and Digital Storage Architecture (ie disks/tapes/controllers). DEC was in existence from the 1950s through the 90s when in 98 it was acquired by Compaq. Compaq would eventually merged with Hewlett-Packard in 2002.


Lastly, this building, located at 5600 Apollo Drive, served as DECs home until 1990 when it was sold to the Charles Industries Ltd., a manufacturer of electronic products. Today, Charles is still operating out of this building, which looks very much like it did over 40 years ago.