Woodward Airframe Systems Manufacturing Facility

Niles, Illinois


Woodward wanted the manufacturing facility and office building housing their Airframe Systems Group to embody a new, progressive environment that inspires their people to do their best. They asked Ghafari to create a design solution that would foster creativity, knowledge transfer, and problem solving. An equally important goal was to consolidate operations by bringing the employees and manufacturing functions scattered among five separate buildings into a single facility. We applied a full range of services to transform a former warehouse into a manufacturing facility that was a model of efficiency.


Our design converted the one-story, 234,000 SF warehouse to encompass manufacturing and assembly functions for two distinct business units: Aviation Component Systems and Motion Control + Sensing Solutions. We located the paint shop, powder coat, and sand blast shops between them to facilitate common use.

We also designed an adjacent 100,000 SF office building with space for 590 employees. The interior layout supports collaboration, incorporating ample open and closed team meeting spaces, shared amenities, and inviting common areas to provide opportunities for spontaneous and planned creative interaction.

Situated between the office and manufacturing areas is the “Main Street”, a 20-foot-wide space where employees can come together for informal meetings. At the west end, we positioned a cafeteria that is conducive to relaxed socializing.


By streamlining manufacturing operations within a single building, we enabled the functions to flow from engineering to production to quality control, allowing Woodward to work much more efficiently. The design of the interior of the office building has created a more effective work style by encouraging interaction and collaboration.