January 23, 2017


One of the longest running and rewarding projects in our 95+ year history has recently completed. Beginning in 2011, Epstein, as part of Design-Build team lead by Pizzuti Development, began serving as the design architect and engineer (MEP/FP and structural) for the renovation and expansion of the Whirlpool Global Headquarters located on a campus of approximately 132-acres in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Additional key members of the Pizzuti team included general contractor, Pepper Construction, and, interior designer, Interior Architects.

North Wing Elevation

The Whirlpool Global HQ is composed of three buildings totaling 282,350 square feet. There is a 4-story North wing constructed in 1955, a 3-story South wing constructed in 1972, and a 2-story East wing constructed in 1982-83. All three wings have steel structures, the north is structurally independent, and the South and East Wings are connected structurally. All three wings have stone or masonry cladding and reflective glazing.

South Wing Elevation (New Entrance Lobby)

For this project, Epsteins initially was asked to perform an intensive Facility Assessment to determine the condition of the existing Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Fire Protection, Life Safety Systems and Accessibility and provide a narrative to allow preliminary pricing to be presented to Whirlpool for the renovation of the facility. This narrative established the work that was required by current building codes and made recommendations for improvements to the systems beyond code minimums.

South Wing New Interior Stair

After this Facility Assessment was completed and a budget developed and approved by Whirlpool, Epstein began its design and engineering services for this ambitious renovation and expansion project. A program that would be completed in three phases, all while Whirlpool continued uninterrupted operations within their Global Headquarters.

North Wing - Executive Wing Terrace

The North Wing, which achieved LEED-NC Silver certification, includes the Boardroom as well as the offices of the CEO and the Senior Leadership Team. In 2013, Epstein renovated the interior with Interior Architects and added 1,800 sf of new space for a Boardroom and new Executive offices. The existing building had ceilings as low at 7-10, after the renovation the minimum ceiling height in the open office space is 9-0. This was particularly challenging due to the 10-0 floor to floor heights on levels 2 and 3. A new central stair was added to bring natural light into the center of the building and facilitate better communication between departments. Conferencing was significantly expanded and collaboration zones were added to implement the workplace improvements that were successful at Whirlpools Benton Harbor Riverview Campus, a new three phased 250,000 sf office development that will be completed later this year. (A project that Epstein served as the architect of record, MEP/FP engineer, structural engineer and LEED consultant.) In addition, Epstein also designed all new MEP systems for the North Wing, systems that were supported by a central plant.

South Wing New Lobby

The South Wing compromises 164,000 square feet on 2 floors and includes a new lobby addition to expand and upgrade the entry. In 2015, Epstein moved the auditorium and cafeteria from level 2 to the ground floor next to the lobby giving these important spaces a high profile. A coffee bar, an outdoor dining terrace and a private dining function were then added to the ground floor. New conference rooms and collaboration spaces were added throughout the newly renovated office spaces to improve communication within the staff. Upon completion of this part of the renovation the Whirlpool Global Headquarters now had all new Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing systems.

North Wing - New Central Stair

During the renovation of the Whirlpools Global HQs the client requested that windows be added to a large windowless area in the East Wing that would be occupied by new workstations. When the masonry wall was opened up it was determined that the lintels were severely corroded and the welds connecting the lintels to the spandrel beams broken due to the absence of flashing. A review of the East Wing Envelope was conducted, the cause of the water infiltration was identified, the lintels were remediated and the new windows were installed. It should also be noted that Epstein identified additional repairs needed immediately to the East Wing as well as those that could be deferred to assist Whirlpool in aligning the repairs with their capital expenditures over the following years.

Executive Wing Lobby

The South and East Wing renovations are currently pursuing LEED Certification as well, with confirmation of that LEED status expected to be confirmed by the United States Green Building Council in the next few weeks.

Executive Wing Boardroom

Lastly, this fully renovated and partially expanded building, like the new Riverview Campus, is a modern and accurate reflection of Whirlpools status as the worlds leading multinational manufacturer and marketer of home appliances. And, in addition, yet another fine example of how Epsteins full-service design and engineering talents have helped improve the workplace environment and real estate value for one of our clients.

South Wing New Central Stair