Leveraging Design as a Change Agent
Jay Longo in Corporate Office Buildings, Headquarters, Sustainability

Set back by about half a mile from the road, behind a soybean farm, on a tract of land that used to hold an RV park, rises a sleek black box surrounded by native grasses swaying in the wind. It is Panduit’s new five-story, 280,000-square-foot world headquarters, a whole new take on the suburban office park. For Panduit, a developer and provider of comprehensive physical infrastructure solutions, this campus marks a new chapter in their company culture, and a distinct change from their previous offices in a 1950s industrial warehouse.

The new headquarters building is the first phase of a 30-year master plan Gensler developed for the company. Their goal was development of a completely new space, infused with Panduit’s unique brand, and leveraging design as a change agent for the culture of the company. A fusion of futuristic and earthy, the language of the granite and glass building—the blackness and tautness of it—was inspired by the look of the high-tech products that Panduit makes.

The project boasts a LEED Gold rating. About two percent of its construction budget was spent on costs associated with the LEED/sustainable criteria and Panduit expects to show a payback on that investment in less than five years. Early performance metrics (they moved into the building in April 2010) show that the building is using 30 percent less energy than a typical office.

Among the new campus’ highlights:

And how does Panduit feel about their new digs? In the words of Panduit’s CEO, John Caveney, “Panduit’s new world headquarters brings to life our vision for creating environmentally sustainable and healthy places to work. We set out with a mission to create the ‘building of the future,’ and we feel we’ve set a new precedent by combining state-of-the-art visibility and control for all critical building systems, sustainable energy, operational cost savings and intelligent design features—all aligned under a single unified infrastructure.”

The project recently won an Interior Architecture Award from AIA Chicago.  

Jay Longo is a principal in Gensler’s Chicago office and a leader of the firm’s global Headquarters practice. A sustainable design director, Jay has led green headquarters projects for corporations including Amcol and Panduit and community organizations including the Center on Halsted. Contact him at jason_longo@gensler.com.
Article originally appeared on architecture and design (http://www.gensleron.com/).
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