Project DescriptionCategory: Work
When Adobe set out to build its new Utah campus, the digital media company turned to WRNS Studio, a San Francisco–based firm and the top firm in this year’s ARCHITECT 50. Located in Lehi, just south of Salt Lake City, the 38-acre site was something of a challenge: long and narrow, it runs alongside Interstate 15 and is bisected by a four-lane public road.
As a way to negotiate this unusual site, WRNS designed the campus as a series of three long slabs, each one slightly angled in plan, as a way to break up the facilities into manageable units. The central building makes a 90-foot span of the intersecting road, allowing the campus to be experienced as a continuous landscape, despite the infrastructural intrusion. The team carried out design and construction on a speedy 27-month schedule.
The glass-clad buildings offer views to the surrounding mountain ranges and to Lake Utah, and they cut down on energy loads from artificial lighting. Ninety-three percent of the building’s occupants have views to the outside, while the high-performance glazing further reduces the property’s energy consumption. Adobe is participating in a post-occupancy analysis to maximize the efficiency of the building’s mechanical and electrical systems; it is certified LEED Gold.
Inside, there are offices, of course, but also plenty of amenities, including a basketball court, climbing wall, pool, gym, and cafeterias. “These campuses for technology companies—they’re more grown-up now,” observed juror Cathy Lang Ho. “It’s beyond the play environments with coffee lounges and bean bags and all of that. It’s just more grown-up.”
The architects coordinated this diverse program on a challenging site with a carefully considered site plan that provides a bridge—literal and metaphorical—from one far end to the other. “It’s a supremely skillful massing,” juror Sheila Kennedy said. “It’s a very simple diagram that’s well executed throughout.” —John Gendall