As a partner to the Paralympics since 1988, and with customers in 100 countries, Ottobock, a designer and manufacturer of prosthetic and orthotic devices and other mobility products, is a global citizen. Founded by German prosthetist Otto Bock in 1919, the company now employs 5,000 people in 46 locations around the world. It established its first North American office in Minneapolis to serve World War II and Korean War veterans in 1958. In 2015 Ottobock relocated its North American Headquarters to Austin, Texas, wanting to capitalize on the city’s reputation as a hub for technology and innovation. With the goal of attracting a fresh crop of talented employees, it commissioned the Austin office of Page to design a new headquarters in a raw, 37,000- square-foot space of an existing commercial building north of the city’s downtown.

Ottobock’s core mission is to help people move with greater ease, and it has pioneered manufacturing techniques that allow its products to have a custom fit, due to highly adaptable components. Such a strategy helped define design goals for the office. “It’s sculptural, it’s precise, it’s anthropomorphic,” says Page principal Wendy Dunnam Tita. In addition to creating a space that would communicate high-tech bona fides, the company wanted to connect with Austin’s authentic, edgy vibe, bringing rougher materials into the mix. Page exposed the base building’s concrete joists and columns, then added curving walls and sleek planes of glass and laminate to gently sculpt the interior. According to Dunnam Tita, this type of new intervention was part of the Ottobock aesthetic.

The office does not shy away from openness or changes in elevation—both speak to its culture of accessibility, in the physical sense and in terms of company hierarchies. “The business is open and accessible. Not every conversation has to be behind a closed door,” says Sara Gardner, director of marketing communications for Ottobock North America. To create a more vertical experience, Page embraced the use of ramps and an elevated floor in places. “We wanted everything to be not only ADAcompliant, but also very fluid,” says Dunnam Tita. A pathway through the office connects employees with social zones and directs foot traffic away from workstations. Raising the floor in the southeast and northwest sections of the office ensures that even workers not seated near windows have access to daylight and views. Internal offices have backlit panels that simulate skylights.

The design evolved as a response to drawbacks of open-plan work environments—namely, acoustic disruption. Placing air ducts entirely under the floor kept the ceiling more open, allowing Page to install acoustic panels over workstations. In some meeting areas, employees can draw a thick acoustic drape to define a quiet, private area.

Visitors who come for equipment training sessions first encounter a showroom detailing the company’s history. Here, products are elevated as sculpture. “It’s first, experiential and, second, informational,” says Gardner. “I see a perfect reflection of what we do, which is the meeting of man and machine, of organic and technical.” At a housewarming ceremony for the new offices, regional president and CFO of Ottobock North America Andreas Schultz spoke about the challenges of establishing a new team in Austin—of the approximately 100 employees in the office, only about one-third were relocated from Minneapolis. The office needed to build on Ottobock’s culture of innovation while maximizing efficiency and being able to respond to growth. “From the time we moved in, we have seen increased collaboration and communication, and over the past years we see growth beginning to justify the investment,” he said.

For people who have lost their range of movement, marrying the body to technology can restore a sense of humanity. And by considering how people will continue to interact with their work environments, the new headquarters should allow Ottobock to offer a similar experience to employees.

Back to Good Design Is Good Business 2017



400 West Cesar Chavez, Suite 500
Austin, TX 78701
P: 512 472 6721
F: 516 477 3211


Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:

Robert E. Burke, PE, LEED AP – Senior Principal in Charge
Wendy Dunnam Tita, AIA, LEED AP – Project Manager
Jen Bussinger, IIDA, LEED AP –Senior Interior Designer
Bob Stapleton, RID, LEED AP – Senior Interior Designer
Natalie Cook – Designer
Shelby Blessing – Designer
Scott Brown – Mechanical Engineer
Robert Hill – Senior Construction Administrator
Kaylyn Fenner –Mechanical Designer
Ricardo Trevino – Plumbing Designer
Travis Poole – Structural Engineer
Tom Earp, PE, ATD – MEP Engineering Director

Bernhard Kleinhenz, Director of Architecture, Construction, + Design, Otto Bock HealthCare GmbH
Heiko Reinhard, Director of IT North America, Ottobock

Toni Piskač, Head of Workplace Consulting & Space Planning, Vitra International AG
Carola Bollhardt, Workplace Strategy Manager, Vitra


Architect of record:




Page (structural, m/e/p)



Planning: Ottobock Internal Team, Vitra, & Page
Programming: Ottobock Internal Team, Vitra, & Page
IT: Heiko Reinhard, Director of IT North America, Ottobock


General contractor:

Balfour Beatty Construction



Casey Dunn Photography




Structural System

Project was within an existing concrete shell building. Additional steel included significant custom fabricated steel structures to accommodate cantilevered steel canopy and ceiling structures in addition to moveable glass wall system. All are concealed within sculptural drywall enclosures. Interior framing for drywall partitions is light gauge metal framing. Interior glazed ceilings use structural tube steel. This steel was painted.

Manufacturer of any structural components unique to this project: The steel subcontractor was G.W. Slade Consultants Inc.


Other: Storefront glazing - Celestra pleinAir


Other special hardware: FSB, Rockwood, Dorma, Schlage, Glynn Johnson

Interior Finishes

Acoustical ceilings: Fiberglass - Armstrong
Mineral Fiber - Armstrong
Ceiling Trim - Armstrong Axiom
Tensioned Fabric Ceilings - Barrisol Sedna X04016

Demountable partitions: Demountable/Moveable Partitions: Nanawall HSW75

Paints and stains: Sherwin Williams - Acrolon 100
Sherwin Williams - Acrylic Enamel

Solid surfacing: Dupont - Corian
Dupont - Zodiaq
Silestone - Mythology

Special surfacing: Recycled Acrylic - 3Form, Chroma

Floor and wall tile: Daltile - Volcano Stone
Porcelain - Graniti Fiandrew
Porcelain - Porcelanosa
Porcelain  (Employee Lounge) - Concept Surfaces

Resilient flooring: Floor Vinyl:
Mohawk - Hot and Heavy, Secoya C0009

Carpet: Flor - Recycled Nylon
Chilewich - Bentley

Raised flooring: Tate ConCore - CC 1250

Special interior finishes unique to this project: Wallbase - Aluminum, Gordon

Acoustical Fabric - Gerriet, Sound Curtain
Leather - Gerrett, Berkshire
Vinyl Drapery - Mermet, E-Screen

Diamond-polished concrete - Moderncrete (installer)

Wall glass:

Glass front lockers: Hollman
Custom fire place: Dimplex Optimyst Vapor fireplace unit


Office furniture: Vitra

Reception furniture: Vitra

Fixed seating: Vitra

Chairs: Vitra

Tables: Vitra

Upholstery: Vitra

Other furniture: Hatch Workshop - 30' Reclaimed Pecan Conference/Dining Table


Interior ambient lighting: Finelight

Downlights: Focal Point

Tasklighting: Vitra

Dimming system or other lighting controls: Acuity Brands, Inc. - night Network Control System from Sensor Switch


Accessibility provisions: Tate ConCore CC1250


Energy management or building automation system: - Chilled Beams (perimeter windows): SLT Schanze Lufttechnick GmbH, AKK

- Wall Base Air Diffusers (lobby, showroom): SLT Schanze Lufttechnik GmbH, CPD

- Low Velocity Perforated Ceiling Diffusers (training room): SLT Schanze Lufttechnik GmbH, CCS

- Raised Floor Edge Linear Diffusers (perimeter circulation): Price Industries, LBPH

Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project: Other Lighting:
Spectrum Lighting
Lendra Bruck
Peerless Egrim
Contech Lighting