By Christopher Tobutt
Otis Air provides professional air conditioning services, so they need a professional looking building to operate from. You might think that one warehouse-and-offices suite of buildings is much like another, and when you get inside it will be respectable, utilitarian, and rather dull. But as soon as you step inside Otis Air’s brand new building on Sparky Drive, you feel that you are somewhere different. It really does feel lovely – the kind of place you would really like to work in. More than that: it’s the kind of building you don’t really want to leave.
“We feel like it’s our home for the future, and we want people to come to work and feel like it’s their home,” said Sean Hill, Otis Air’s General Manager and Partner. Getting such a lovely work-space wasn’t lucky – it was a matter of careful design and consultation. Previously, the company was crammed into a much smaller building nearby, but the success and rapid growth of the company means that they had to think about the future: “It was a lot of planning and we’ve been thinking about this for a few years. For us it was really important for our team to build a place that we could all work together he said. “A lot of people say, ‘you spend more time with your work colleagues than you do with your family,’ so when you are here, we want people to be comfortable, and be proud to work here and show people the building. It’s all about a big family for us, and teamwork,” Mr. Hill said.
Describing the nature the business, Mr. Hill continued: “We are a large commercial service business, and we have many commercial buildings in Grand Cayman where we offer all-inclusive agreements to customers where we cover the risk on their air conditioning equipment. If it breaks down, or the parts need repairing, it’s all covered, so it’s just a flat – line fee the customers pay for, rather than having to pay for repairs all the time. We make it work for ourselves, because we don’t want it to break down so we fix small things before they become bigger problems,” he said. We want to be the best at what we do.”
A professional company needs a professional-looking building, for just the right image.
Garth Arch, Managing Director of Arch & Godfrey, the contractor who had undertaken the work said: “It’s a fantastic building for them, and they are very pleased with the finished product. One of the main challenges was in the foundations, because we had different soil conditions, so we had to do piling at a certain location and traditional, shallow foundations in the other section.” But the challenges have been overcome, and Mr. Arch took the words right out of my mouth by saying, “this building is alive.” “The building is really built for purpose. That purpose is to have a commercial space within a warehouse space, and the designers did a great job of making you want to be inside the building. In the working space it feels very comfortable, and very pleasant.”
Architect Monica Guzman said: “We had lots of input from the client. He is very knowledgeable about the business, and how he wanted the business to operate. The offices are a very small portion of the construction, but they wanted it to be very ‘clean’ and modern.”