As the 1990s bolstered the financial status of Harnischfeger Industries, the industrial giant built its world headquarters on Lake Michigan. The Postmodern design is composed of a tower and a sweeping wing, with bands of blue-tinted windows. Two lower lake-facing levels projecting from the wing provide cafeteria and meeting space. The five-story cylindrical tower with commanding lake views is filled with art-glass window screens by Stephen Knapp, who created abstracted designs of industrial processes. Knapp also designed a stainless steel and glass mobile of a bird that soars above the atrium entrance. The atrium’s wood-trimmed ceilings soften ambient noise and warm the corporate industrial interior.
Less than a year after the building’s completion, a takeover battle by Wisconsin toolmaker Giddings and Lewis, though ultimately a failure, financially weakened Harnischfeger. That, compounded by foundering Asian financial markets in the late 1990s, resulted in the cancellation of orders for the company’s paper-making machines, precipitated bankruptcy, and forced the company to divest itself of its showpiece.