ETC Headquarters In Middleton Gets Container Offices
Steel shipping containers are fast gaining popularity for a variety of purposes in the US like storage, housing, offices, schools, etc. In line with this trend, commercial lighting design company ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls) has recently added 75,000-square-foot office space, made from 40 one trip shipping containers, on the north side of its Middleton headquarters. Most of these corrugated steel containers at the northern extension are 40 feet long, which comfortably house four separate offices. These offices are equipped with carpets and special color-changing dimmable ETC lighting and have glass doors on one side.
The company said that its container set-up is the first of its kind in Wisconsin and possibly the largest in the Midwest. ETC architect Frank Miller designed the project for two years in association with Sketchworks Architecture in Middleton. The units are stacked two-high, connected with metal walkways and organized in groupings that allow open courtyard areas, equipped with tables and chairs for meetings or lounging or with equipment used to test new concepts. A third floor built above the containers is designed to mimic their appearance.
Founded in 1975, ETC is well-known for its architecture. The company headquarters’ lobby replicates the retro vibe of 1930s Midtown Manhattan, with an outline of the Empire State Building, a theater marquee, and a reception desk, inspired from Edward Hopper’s painting ‘Nighthawks.’ Even now, the new building carries the same quirky theme. The hallway has a mannequin, dressed in a red-and-white striped shirt and a hat. One of the walls at the conference room has a mustached Mona Lisa, while the office shelves are lined with bobbleheads and action figures.
Right now, around 170 employees from research and development and marketing departments occupy the new offices. The number is set to increase till 250 in the future. The $16 million project got a boost of $3.6 million in tax incremental financing from the city of Middleton that will be repaid through the higher taxes ETC will pay on its headquarters, now expanded to 403,000 square feet.