Barkow Leibinger

Barkow Leibinger
Schillerstraße 94, D–10625 Berlin
T +49(0)30 315712 -0 F -29

Trumpf Smart Factory Chicago

Aligned along the I-90 interstate near Chicago O'Hare the Trumpf Smart Factory is a prototypical showroom for their machine tools.  "Poaching" a parcel of land from the abandoned AT&T campus the building refers to both the suburban strips of fast-food culture, big box shopping, and gas stations as well as a history of industrial "rust belt” architecture. The siting of the building works locally orienting to the highway with its large glazed "storefront" facade or to the immediate wetlands surrounding it.

 Strategically situated centrally in the US the building is near a district of similar manufacturing buildings. The articulation of the building is in two offset volumes. Facing the highway the higher volume contains the ‘Smart Factory’. Here, in this large showroom 11 laser-cut Vierendeel trusses spanning 140 feet enclose Trumpf Machines with the latest technology.

Considering "structure as space" a central catwalk and meeting points are located within the depth of the trusses and weave through the webbing to provide clients with an overlook of the machines and processes. These program points are then connected to the Control Room that will be used to welcome and inform customers about Trumpf's technologies and services and to the floor of the machine hall itself. The curtain-wall glazing of the Smart Factory is located on the north and south sides, and corrugated corten steel on the east and west sides presenting an image that is both opaque and transparent.

The second lower volume will offer spaces for a lobby, meeting rooms, an open office and an auditorium. Arranged around a central courtyard, these rooms will remain flexible to meet the needs of the Trumpf clients, prospective clients, and employees.  The double volume form of the building is unified by a gently raked roof slope from south to north helping to integrate the building into the smaller scaled (landscape) of the wetlands.

The interiors are defined by straight forward industrial finishes such as steel, burned wood, polished concrete floors and expanded metal. The exterior massing forms two pockets of space: one for parking and an entrance and a large patio  for the cafe bounded by a large quarter circle edge facing the pond.

Project Information

Architects — Barkow Leibinger, Berlin, Frank Barkow, Regine Leibinger



Heiko Krech (Project Architect), 

Johannes Beck, Jordan Berta, Carles Figueras, Cecilia Fossati, Andreas Moling, Antje Steckhahn, Daniel Toole, Alexa Tsien-Shiang, Annette Wagner, Jens Wessel



Show Room, Customer and Office Spaces



Chicago, IL, USA



5.304 sqm



2016 - 2017



TRUMPF Inc., Farmington, CT, USA


General Contractor

McShane Construction Company, Rosemont, IL, USA


Contact Architect

Karl Heitman, Itasca, IL, USA 


Structural Engineer

Knippers Helbig, Berlin/New York (Design); 

KJWW Engineering Consultants, Naperville, IL, USA (of Record)



KJWW Engineering Consultants, Chicago, IL, USA


Landscape Architect

Capatti Staubach, Berlin (Design);

Gary R. Weber Associates, Wheaton, IL, USA (of Record)



Knippers Helbig, Berlin/ New York


Lighting Design

Studio Dinnebier, Berlin, Germany