The Machinists’ Union Headquarters building in Upper Marlboro, MD recently passed the 30-year mark as an IAM Grand Lodge. Building houses many IAM departments who serve the membership under the direction of the international president, general secretary-treasurer, and resident general vice president.
The four-storey building, which opened in August 1992, won acclaim for its design, as reported in the October 1993 edition of Architecture magazine, as a “veritable collage of machine images – from the fuselage of an airliner to the rocket launch gantries of Cape Canaveral”.
When the IAM planned to move from its 40-year-old headquarters at Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., union leaders wanted the new building “to stand as a visible statement of what IAM members do for a living. “, according Architecture.
IAM members “take the mess every day and make it tidy,” said building design principle Joseph Boggs when it opened.
“They take raw shards of metal, bits of steel, and turn them into beautiful, fancy pieces of machinery,” Boggs continued. “This building is a metaphor for what they do.”
The building is located across from Joint Base Andrews, where IAM-built jets, including Air Force One, are serviced by IAM members. The building was built entirely by union members.
“The future belongs to those who face it boldly, courageously and on their own terms,” wrote the late IAM International President George Kourpias after the building opened. “From its open and spacious design symbolizing the skills of members of the metal trades to its proximity to the United States Capitol, just 20 minutes away, the IAM Headquarters combines flexibility and functionality.”
One of the building’s many highlights is the Executive Council Room, which features a curved metal ceiling that resembles the underside of a 747’s wing. The walls are display cases filled with models of products made by members of IAM, including planes, tractors, rockets and submarines.
“For all its precision, the building ultimately serves and celebrates the people who create the machines, not the machines themselves,” wrote Edward Gunn in The Architect. “From any vantage point, one can see a continuous parade of passers-by – union members on the stairs, in the atrium, a flight below in another part of the building.”
IAM Grand Lodge staff look forward to seeing members for years to come as they tour IAM headquarters after participating in programs at the IAM crown jewel, the William W Winpisinger Education and Technology Center.