American Water Works Co.

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The new design features exposed structure, ambient lighting, and a compositional paint scheme

Clayco and Lamar Johnson Collaborative completed a $6 million office and call center for American Water Works. After completing a multi-city search for a new national customer service center, the city of Alton, Illinois was selected as the best location for a number of reasons, including its abundant pool of skilled labor. The company is now located in a 42,552-square-foot facility in Alton Center I at Alton Center Business Park.

Lamar Johnson Collaborative’s design transformed a plain and cavernous warehouse into a warm and colorful office with a village theme. Twelve-foot-high windows were cut into two sides of the building to flood the interior with natural light. The new exterior entry features tilt-up concrete panels and a canopy that defines the entrance to the previously box-like structure. The new design features exposed structure, ambient lighting, and a compositional paint scheme that humanizes the otherwise imposing 25-foot-high walls.

The 20,000-square-foot open office area features six unique “huddle rooms” that provide informal meeting areas. A streetscape, featuring a town center clock tower, a variety of colored facades, and even roofs for lower rooms, reinforces the “village feel.” A curving, 3,000-square-foot mezzanine overlooks the Community Center, used as a gathering space for staff. The high-tech environment included the installation of nearly 40,000 square feet of raised computer flooring, redundant electrical and telecommunication services, a UPS and extensive cabling. Design and construction of the call center was completed in only three months, meeting the client’s schedule despite the necessity of working with a client and consultants from out of town.


American Water Works Company


Alton, Illinois


42,552 SF


  • Architect: Lamar Johnson Collaborative