Made For Mixing And Mingling

PHOTO ESSAY BusinessWeek/Architectural Record Awards

When General Mills Inc. (GIS ) bought Pillsbury, it wanted to integrate the new people into its world headquarters campus. It also wanted to take the opportunity to increase employee productivity by boosting communication.

To do that, Hammel, Green and Abrahamson Inc. designed new space to facilitate interaction to help generate new ideas. It also designed more flexible work environments that could expand and contract as the economy changes.

A new Employees Services Building was built as a town center for the headquarters campus. The ESB site was located so that employees funneled into it, raising frequency of interaction between departments. A Main Street arcade of amenities was provided -- credit union, deli with take-home food service, juice bar, and coffee shop -- to encourage people to stop and linger. A separate new five-story office building was also put up to accommodate the new Pillsbury employees. Says juror Betsy Cohen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Resource Asset Investment Trust, "It was driven by the HR department, and the spaces that were developed were very much within the program of employee satisfaction." The project was delivered ahead of schedule and under budget: In January, 2002, the board of directors approved it. In January, 2003, the ESB and office buildings opened. The jury wanted a more dramatic architectural solution, so the project was a finalist, not a winner. General Mills' employees may beg to differ.

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