A head for heights

03 Feb 2010

HVIDT impress with highest glass façades

After being impressed by the work of HVIDT ARKITEKTER on a visit to his homeland Denmark, the owner of ESRI asked the firm to design a proposal for his American software company headquarters in Redlands, California. Subsequently, the firm participated in a competition run by ESRI and won. Now complete, the building, designed in collaboration with Armantrout Architects boasts one of the highest top-hung glass façades in the world at a height of 14m.

The building consists of two volumes, the office wings, and a large intermediate glass atrium, where the entrance is located. The two volumes are faced with Californian red wood. The atrium façades stand as a continuous glazing, constructed in frameless glass and mounted on light steel constructions with discreet steel fittings.

The volume of the atrium is contained by four sculptural concrete walls that extend outside the building into the landscape and over the roofline. The concrete walls further emphasise the directionality of the atrium, creating movement from the entry garden, through the atrium and to the gardens on the southern side. The steel and glass construction interplays with the orange colour of the wood and the two light concrete plates, which match facings, stairs, balconies and other fine concrete details, both inside and outside the building. The large atrium and the partly freestanding concrete plates create a transition from the building to the landscape outside.

Two light bridges span the width of the atrium, connecting one office wing to the other. From the bridges there is access to a suspended wooden box with meeting rooms at each level. A light, white stair that moves vertically through the space creates a contrast to the heavy, grounded concrete walls. In addition to the offices, which can accommodate 250 employees, and to the various meeting rooms and a café, a lounge and a canteen, the headquarters accommodates an auditorium with 300 seats. Wood walls and flooring have been used throughout the project. The auditorium uses a combination of maple and cherry panelling that has been thoughtfully designed with acoustics in mind, placing perforation at carefully located places and creating specially formed surfaces that strategically reflect the sound so that the space is ideal for small seminars and large presentations.

Key Facts

United States
Commercial Offices

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