Grande Cheese Home Office and Research Center

LOCATION: Fond du Lac, WI
SIZE: 67,100 sq. ft.
OWNERS: Grande Cheese Company
ARCHITECT: Overland Partners | Architects
PHOTOGRAPHER: © Ryan Gobuty, Gensler; © Dror Baldinger, AIA

DESIGN TEAM:Keith Yancey
 Alicia Miksic
 Amber Hepner
 Kera Lagios

Transparency is a key design feature of the home office and research center for the Grande Cheese Company. Situated on 40 acres of pastoral countryside in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, this 70,000-square-foot facility consists not only of office space and research labs, but also industrial kitchens, dining spaces, a health clinic, wellness facility, library, café, reenergizing rooms, and various support areas. The glass walls of each area visually dissolve barriers between visitors and daily operations in cheese-making, but also promote interaction between employees of various departments. Since the views to the exterior landscape and inner courtyard are the primary visual drivers, the electric lighting was designed not only to unobtrusively support natural lighting during daylight hours, but to also promote transparency during early evening hours. Lighting hardware was mostly invisible and concealed in architectural details to indirectly wash ceilings and walls. Decorative lighting was carefully selected and located to add visual sparkle to the soft washes of electric lighting and daylighting. Each string of crisscrossing catenary lighting in the courtyard was individually programmed to highlight plantings and objects with different intensities, based on the season of the year. In addition to the changing ‘natural’ art in the courtyard, wall washes and accent lighting were used to highlight an extensive art program throughout the building. The lighting is all LED and dimmable, based on function, or automatically controlled, based on daylight availability or occupancy.