KOMA Brings New Life to Thermo King Corporate HQ

October 2012 – Bloomington, Minn. – Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates recently announced completion of a facelift to Thermo King’s corporate headquarters located in Bloomington, Minn. KOMA provided architectural and interior design services for Thermo King, a client for whom they’ve worked on multiple projects.

The facelift project — centered around an update to the main entrance and lobby area of the building — was actually first put into motion in 2007. After some preliminary work had been done, the project was shelved until being resurrected earlier this year.

In addition to freshening the look of the entrance and reception area, Thermo King was hoping to improve the building’s security and add square footage to create a larger, more comfortable and inviting space.

Maximizing Interior Space Without an Addition

Thermo King Front ReceptionAfter first considering an addition to the front of the building to add square footage, Thermo King and the KOMA design team — consisting of Architect Jon LeNoble, AIA, and Interior Designer Cindy D. Nagel, CID — instead settled on exploring ways to maximize the existing interior space. By claiming an area of underutilized work stations and reorienting the visitor approach, KOMA was able to create a more easily navigable, clean-lined and well-designed space. Entry doors, previously oriented to one side of the vestibule, were replaced and centered with the reception desk placed directly opposite the entry doors, creating a direct approach.

Up to the Challenge

Thermo King LobbyNagel said, “This project was enjoyable, but it was also a challenge. Finding a way to create a more secure environment for the offices located beyond the reception and waiting areas while increasing their overall size — all the while enhancing access and visibility to the existing stairway and bathrooms — was difficult. We considered the space from a number of angles and a variety of perspectives. I’m exceptionally pleased with the design we created … I feel it accomplished all our goals and creates a space that complements the Thermo King brand.”

She continued, “I think this project also illustrates well how we remain flexible throughout the course of a project. Our goal, regardless of the timeline or the budget, is to deliver creative solutions that meet – or exceed – the goals of our client.”

Keeping Our Cool

An additional component to the project involved sun control. With a number of high exposure windows creating an oven effect on sunny days, Nagel and her team needed to address sun control without negatively impacting the interior aesthetics. The relocation of the reception desk alleviated the issue for the reception staff. To address the waiting area, KOMA specified Flexshade manual shades that cut glare and heat but allow light transference.


Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates, Inc., is a full-service architectural, structural engineering and interior design firm located in Inver Grove Heights, Minn. Serving clients in a wide variety of industries, the firm delivers innovative ideas, thoughtful design and disciplined execution with an emphasis on balance and sustainable thinking. Founded in 1985, the firm is built upon the idea that open and honest communication with clients and genuine collaboration yield aesthetically pleasing, functional, inspiring, healthy places for people to live, work, play and worship. For more information about Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates, call 651-451-4605 or email