Edwards Vacuum Facility
Dacon Designs for Complexity & Change
By Kate Bachner
When Edwards Vacuum was looking to build a new facility, they knew it couldn’t be just any old structure. The building needed to meet the multifaceted demands of an ever evolving company working to design and manufacture advanced technology parts. This required a design/build team that was innovative enough to construct an environment where complexity could thrive. Enter Dacon Corporation.
On track to achieve LEED Silver, Dacon designed and built Edwards Vacuum’s impressive 135,000 SF new home. The two story New England facility holds within it 4 distinct divisions: manufacturing, innovation labs, offices, and warehousing. John O’Sullivan, VP of Operations for Edwards Vacuum explains “ the objective was to create a state of the art, innovation and solutions center that improved the overall efficiency of assembly, research and development, new product introductions and related operations activities.” In other words, Dacon’s job wasn’t just to create a facility for Edwards Vacuum's employees to work in but rather to create a facility that would elevate Edwards Vacuum’s employees’ work. What’s more, the task was to do this for a diversity of business processes.
One of the main challenges that Dacon had to overcome was to design for flexibility. Edwards Vacuum is not a static company it needs to have the freedom to grow and change. Dacon tackled this by allowing furniture configuration and floor cores to be mobile. The entire second floor can be easily refitted for cubicles without invasive drilling for electrical wiring. The production floor can even be modified, as powerlines are suspended from the ceiling.
Another guiding design strategy was transparency. No aspect of the organization was to be cut off from one another. A whole greater than the sum of its parts, the branches of the company would flow into one another, reminding each section of the company’s ultimate aim. Also related to transparency is the feeling of openness. One of the primary ways Dacon achieved this sense of spaciousness was through the use of glass. From the two storied windowed facade to the observation area overlooking the production floor, occupants can escape the stuffy office feel and have room to breathe.
Another benefit of designing with glass is that you get a lot of natural light. Natural light is incredibly important to human health as it regulates one’s circadian rhythm. Also known as our 24 hour internal clock, circadian rhythm regulates cycles of alertness and sleepiness by responding to light changes in our environment. Exposure to daylight positively impacts our sleep quality, metabolic function, productivity and overall mood. This is a prime example of how the built environment affects its occupants’ well being.
Dacon Corporation won first place for Vertical Construction in the 2023 Design Build Institute of Americas Awards for its Edwards Vacuum project. The project’s commitment to eco-conscious design and LEED compliance can be found in plans for a future solar setup, reduced water usage, high efficiency cooling systems, EV parking/charging stations and dark sky compliant lighting.
To mark the event Dacon Corporation and Edwards Vacuum extended its reach beyond the project to give back to the community. They donated a $10,000 digital arts program to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Haverhill. The Edwards Digital Arts Studio helps teens develop technical skills that support creative innovation. Though Edwards Vacuum’s facility may be completed, Dacon's commitment to technical prowess and intelligent design continues.