GlaxoSmithKline Offices
Tuesday 28 May 2013


Fortune 500 company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) officially opened its new, radically reinvented "double LEED Platinum" offices in Philadelphia's Navy Yard, on Saturday 6th April.  The company's new flagship office building is not only a model for sustainability and energy savings, it is custom-designed to promote health and wellness.  The building's design aligns with GSK's wellness and sustainability philosophies of "good working, good living" and "energy for performance". 

The design team includes Francis Cauffman (workplace strategy), Robert A.M. Stern (architect), and Buro Happold (building sustainability consultant).

There are no private offices and no one has an assigned desk; not even Deirdre Connelly, President, North America Pharmaceuticals, GSK.  It accommodates 80% of the flagship's workforce, saving costs and encouraging teams to work more collaboratively in open-plan break areas, the large cafeteria, or on a generous roof deck with green space.  The building also includes a monumental spiral stairway, a coffee shop, fitness centre, meeting centres and a large multi-purpose room.

"Our new work space is designed to inspire and connect people," says Connelly. "My teammates and I are energised by this new environment, where we can do our best work and collaborate without the constraints of office walls." 

The inside of the building has large, open and sunlit floors, arranged around a naturally light central four-story atrium, with glass-fronted meeting rooms along the interior.  The "desks" are customised, height-adjustable benches designed by Francis Cauffman in collaboration with furniture manufacturer Haworth.  Individuals can sit or even stand.  They're part of a test LEED program for ergonomics and were designed via a pilot program created by Francis Cauffman. 

Part of the design concept was to allow employees to work and interact throughout the whole building, and to create an open, healthy workplace environment which increases levels of energy and engagement amongst staff.