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Curtainwall Creates Iconic Design

YANMAR America’s EVO//CENTER demonstrates vision for a sustainable future

Yanmar May18

More than 100 years ago, Japanese company YANMAR Corp. was founded in an effort to change the world with technology. After manufacturing the first commercially viable small diesel engine in the 1930s, YANMAR went on to expand its line to marine engines, industrial engines, power systems and agricultural and construction equipment. Today, the privately held company prides itself on “providing sustainable solutions for needs that are essential to human life.”

When YANMAR set out to build its North American training center in Acworth, Ga., a small suburb of Atlanta, its goal was to create more than a traditional office building. YANMAR wanted to tell the story of its rich history with an experiential, multipurpose facility that would be an expression of its brand and representative of its long-standing core values of innovation and sustainability. The first phase was to create a training center and exhibition hall that would provide an enhanced training experience for YANMAR’s dealerships, employees and customers.

A Dramatic Design

CROFT & Associates, an architecture, engineering and program management firm in Atlanta, was tasked with full design and engineering for the project, which is located on 53 acres of land. Principal Jim Croft had a distinct vision for the building from the start. It includes a nod to nautical style with a dramatic 35-foot, three-sided, conical-shaped curtainwall, which the remainder of the facility is based around. Housed beneath the sweeping curtainwall is a museum narrating the 105-year-old company’s story.

“We saw the need to create a showpiece for YANMAR. This was not just a training facility with typical conference rooms, we wanted it to be an icon for its North American business,” says Butch Birchfield, vice president of design at CROFT. “The complexity of the shape and the height of the facility were key drivers in the design.”

To achieve the desired drama of the building, Birchfield and his team worked closely with Austell, Ga.-based YKK AP America Inc. “The main issue was how high the wall could be without oversizing the structure, and having to add columns,” recalls Burchfield. “The height was core to the design, and we didn’t want to compromise it by adding structural components. The end product needed to echo YANMAR’s simple and powerful brand.”

YKK AP produced shop drawings and custom manufactured a curtainwall using its YCW 750 structural silicone glazed curtainwall, which allows for a modern, seamless look without a large sightline. The YES 45 and YES 60 thermally broken storefront systems with flexible mullions allow for more creative freedom with the curved shape of the building. These products provide high energy efficiency to ensure occupant comfort while providing ample sunlight during the day and allowing the space to glow at night, showing off the YANMAR equipment. Columns were pulled away so the curtainwall could be more independent and be seen as a transparent backdrop to the product exhibit.

In addition to the complex design challenges, the team faced an a short, 13-month schedule to complete the project. “For us to pull it off, it was critical that manufacturers like YKK AP, and all subcontractors, understood the schedule. [YKK AP] needed to get the curtainwall on schedule and it needed to be field-verified,” says Birchfield.

CROFT and YKK AP collaborated closely using Revit 3-D modeling to effectively and efficiently work through the complex shape of the building. Any issues encountered were done so via the BIM software before they had a chance to present themselves in the field. This facilitated the design process and ensured they were able to meet the aggressive timeline.

Opening the Doors to a Place of Collaboration and Empowerment

In November 2017, YANMAR opened its doors to its innovative new North American training center, the YANMAR America//EVO CENTER. The 50,000-square-foot facility includes six product training labs with classroom and hands-on space, three classrooms, office space, multiple meeting rooms, a 250-seat auditorium, the EVO Commons dining area, concept lab, outdoor product demonstration areas and the iconic museum.

The collaboration of CROFT and YKK AP resulted in a unique facility that will facilitate collaboration and education for YANMAR’s customers, dealers, employees and community from around the world. A place to ultimately empower and create a sustainable future.


Steve Schohan is marketing and communications manager for Austell, Ga.-based YKK AP America Inc., where he develops marketing strategies and leads research efforts on emerging markets and trends, with an emphasis on driving industry product evolution and innovation. To learn more, visit www.ykkap.com.