The Rawlings Group, a comprehensive health insurance data mining and claims recovery company, had labored for years in various downtown Louisville offices described as labyrinthine, cluttered, and “…like a rabbit warren.” So when it was time to move, owner and CEO George Rawlings, in his brief to several architecture and design firms, used the descriptives of his business to render a vision for his new headquarters — transparency, clarity, openness, efficiency
Mr. Rawlings was very specific about seeing the functionality and flexibility of the clean, high modernism he loves, and ultimately chose the GS&P corporate architecture and interior design team, headed by Jeff Kuhnhenn, because the architects clearly understood and appreciated his modern office vision and requirements.
The 160,000-square-foot office space that resulted sits on the edge of a ridge overlooking open fields and woods in a newly developed 60-acre office park. Two conjoined buildings present a modern façade of overlapping solid and glass forms, organized to externalize the notions of flexibility and clean, crisp organization that define the inside of the building.
The building’s placement on the site allowed the architects to save money on earthwork and use the best of the site for construction. Ceilings were kept as high as possible, allowing floor-to-ceiling windows to flood the interior with natural light and provide peaceful views of the fields and woods beyond. The materials used, as well as colors, shapes and furnishings, are thoughtful, elegant and modern without demanding attention.
The design of the larger building, in which most of the staff work, reflects Rawlings’s office requirements for flexibility and functionality. He calls it the “engine”, where most of the work takes place. As the company continues to grow and its needs change, the engine can be altered to accommodate that change. The extremely open office plan fosters the kind of teamwork that the group believes is essential to its success. The architecture and interior design make unambiguous statements about the business conducted therein—to bring order and sense to complex insurance issues and documents.
A smaller building houses the executive offices, HR support and shared amenities. The cafeteria includes a 200-person capacity, high-end deli modeled after establishments like Panera Bread and Bread & Company. There is also a fitness center, which is accessible to every Rawlings Group employee, and a gourmet coffee shop in the lobby that unites the two buildings.Playing on Louis Sullivan’s famous dictum, “form follows function,” Kuhnhenn characterizes this particular form as articulating intent—the architecture symbolizing the character of the business conducted within. He adds that the Rawlings Group headquarters is a very efficient machine that is also very attractive.
George Rawlings calls it, “…logical, efficient, exactly what I envisioned. I asked for the best corporate headquarters you can possibly build. This beats my highest expectations.”