Union Station Technology Center (USTC) in South Bend, Indiana began its life as a train station. Now it’s a data center and the state’s second largest carrier hotel. As a piece of internet infrastructure, it’s high tech. With the help of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the building owners are aiming for a design to suit.
The building is in South Bend’s Studebaker Corridor, so named for the wagon company turned automobile titan. Before it closed in 1963, Studebaker was the fourth largest automobile manufacturer in the nation, employing as many as 23,000 people in South Bend. Union Station Technology Center is among the tech-oriented rehabs that local businesspeople like Nick Easley, director of strategic initiatives for USTC, and developer Kevin Smith are using to rebrand the area as South Bend’s Renaissance District.
AS+GG was selected as the emerging district’s master planner in 2012. On Sunday it was announced that the Chicago-based firm—known for energy-efficient, eye-grabbing projects around the world—would lead the redesign of USTC, as well as “a mixed-use campus consisting of more than one million square feet of Class A office, education, technology, research grade manufacturing, data center, and live-work spaces.”
A press release promises to turn USTC into “a large scale, sustainably designed tech hub that promises to spur a second economic boom for South Bend and the surrounding region.”
South Bend’s boosters hope the cold climate—which cuts server cooling costs—and local knowledge base at University of Notre Dame will help it stand out among cities from coast to coast currently chasing tech jobs to replace manufacturing work.An atrium planned for a courtyard on South Lafayette Boulevard in South Bend, Indiana. (Adrian Smith +Gordon Gill Architecture)