Product Development Center

Harley-Davidson Motor Co.
Published 2-1-2007
  • Warehouse

    Photo courtesy of Flad & Associates, copyright Hedrich Blessing, Jon Miller photographer

  • Conference Room

    Photo courtesy of Flad & Associates, copyright Hedrich Blessing, Jon Miller photographer

  • Exterior

    Photo courtesy of Flad & Associates, Bob Freund Photography

The mission of the Product Development Center is to foster the collaborative development of product designs and manufacturing processes for the future success of Harley-Davidson through the integration of new technologies.

The plan evolves from a desire to enhance and maximize communication between all levels of staff within the facility. Vehicle build, research and development laboratories, vehicle testing, and support services are located on the ground level. Design, engineering, team areas, product display, and administrative functions are situated directly above, providing a contiguous relationship between product and process.

Harley strategically located this facility next to its engine assembly plant, reinforcing the concept of “concurrent engineering” and bridging any gaps between design, engineering, and manufacturing. The focal point of the building is a space called the “mock-up area,” placed within the curved roof structure canopy. Various styles and past model years of the product are positioned in this area, which is devoted to the study, evaluation, and evolution of product function and design. The focal structural element of the mock-up area is the column trunk and limbs that support the curved roof structure. Particular attention to basic construction elements was important for this open and dynamic space. Exposing bolted connections and splices in this area emphasized the industrial history of the organization.

The building plan can be manipulated to work for a variety of different team environments. Whether the team is a “platform,” focused on a model of a particular bike, or a “center of excellence,” focused on a particular part of the bike, all teams are arranged around a product. Space is designed so teams can be organized in different ways, each concentrated around the product, which can easily be wheeled into the mockup area or office environment.

The building was designed with sustainability in mind and was awarded a LEED™ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2003.

Project Data
Project Type: 
New Construction
Completion Date: 
August, 1996
Wauwatosa, WI
Delivery Method: 
Competitive Conventional Bid
Project GSF: 
Construction Cost: 
Cost per SqFt: 
Building Descriptors: 
Conference Room
Product Development
Affiliated Construction Services