ID Studio's design for Swinerton Builders

By Deborah Elliott

 

Swinerton Builders is a nationally recognized commercial general contractor formed in 1888 with 13 regional offices in the western half of the United States. When Swinerton approached ID Studios to reinvent its San Diego office, the firm had already selected a one-story, 24,000 square foot uninspired warehouse with a tired exterior and no clear entry. A renovation was clearly required and brought an exciting challenge for the entire team.

The goals for the space were to create a creative, energetic and positive work experience as well as an ergonomic and flexible one to maximize employee comfort and create a high level of efficiency. Swinerton also wanted the new space to reflect its strong green initiatives and construction capabilities and, due to its longevity, highlighting its history and breadth of work was critical.

Flooring played a role in fulfilling all of these goals. Not only did it help solidify the design, but also a change in flooring, or flooring pattern, created a sense of space. In this project, it added to the experience by giving visitors a tactile way to interact with the design and created impact through contrast in addition to adding visual wayfinding cues. 

SETTING A TONE
The drab exterior was an obvious starting point. A new, uniquely angled, glass-wrapped, entry-box structure was added, drawing the visitor to an intuitive entry point. The new entry structure rises above the existing building parapet to provide visual hierarchy to the entry.

Once in the high-volume lobby, the visitor is greeted with a display of bright yellow and white hardhats, which punctuates the reception area, creating a distinctive deconstructed art piece unique to the construction industry. Shaw’s yellow-banded Vertical Edge carpet tile was introduced as an extension of this theme, encouraging the visitor to step into the art. 

The placement of flooring can be used to draw the visitors in and lead them through the interior. Daltile’s Green Squared Certified P’Zazz colorbody porcelain tile in Gray Shimmer greets visitors at the entrance, while a ribbon of the same tile in Black Drama slices across the floor, around the reception desk and up a 15’ branded feature wall. The ribbon of tile is used to focus the eye on the reception desktop, which in turn leads them to the horizontal accents of the branding wall. From there the yellow band in the carpet leads visitors toward the conference room.

Passing through the hallway, the main conference room immediately comes into view as the focal point of the interior, with its bold orange cantilevered ceiling structure taking center stage. Cutouts above expose a trellis-like row of galvanized framing studs held up by a series of rugged concrete-wrapped columns, which exude a sense of strength and allude to the hidden, yet vitally important, nature of the construction industry.

ANCIENT INSPIRATION, MODERN DESIGN
One challenge that ID Studios had to overcome was how to create an open design in a high-volume space with a program that required many enclosed offices. Inspiration for the main offices was drawn from an image of Mesa Verde National Park in southwest Colorado with the early culture’s cubist-like arrangement of square houses of varying heights built under the high ceilings of the natural caves. We felt the neighborhood-like arrangement reflected the vibrant activity and community of a busy construction firm. 

Offices were arranged in a similar fashion. Private offices were turned askew to each other, and interior walls were not allowed to extend to the roof deck, with varying sidelights and gypsum board eyebrow soffits to further enhance the cubist-like variation of the inspiration.

Throughout the main office, the yellow-banded carpet first found in the lobby is repeated, turning this design feature into a helpful visual cue to define circulation paths and lead visitors through the space. 

The carpet design created for the open office space is an elaborate mirrored pattern of 18”x36” tiles, while private offices are defined by a different mix running perpendicular to the open office. This brings the total number of different tiles used in the project to five: Shaw Vertical Edge Tiles in Ochre Verge and Gunmetal Verge, Merge Tiles in Ochre Verge and Gunmetal Verge, and finally Minimal Tile in Verge.

The carpet tile provided the opportunity for endless functional and design possibilities. Defining the start point of this complex mix of carpet was critical to the overall success of the pattern, requiring the sales representative, general contractor and designer to work hand-in-hand with the installer throughout the process to ensure a proper finished product. The result was a beautifully coordinated backdrop to the furniture and color accents that marry successfully to the overall design.

The office finishes off with a flexible entertainment/break area full of amenities—including a TV/gaming area, high-top bar, casual meeting spaces, outdoor garden and barbeque area—which is separated from the office by a pair of garage doors, creating a visual connection between the spaces and allowing the spaces to co-mingle. The entertainment area is defined by a subtle pattern of two sizes of Caesar’s Ecolabel-certified Absolute porcelain floor tile in Beola Bianca. Directly adjacent is a bright, spacious kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances, which is even further differentiated by an inset of the same tile in the color Dark Moon. Storefront glass doors lead from the entertainment area to a citrus-lined garden designed for entertaining employees and guests alike.

GREEN INITIATIVES
Swinerton’s goal was to design to LEED Gold standards and net-zero energy consumption, not only for the environmental concerns surrounding the construction but also to demonstrate to its clientele that sustainable design can be beautiful. Several strategies were put in place to reflect this sensibility.

It started with the selection of the site and scope of the project. The firm selected a location directly adjacent to a freeway park-and-ride and carpool entry/exit. And, after much discussion, the team elected to reuse the existing structure in lieu of demolishing and starting over. 

Although tile is utilized in the appropriate settings and Centiva’s FloorScore and GreenGuard certified Contour vinyl plank in Strand Bamboo makes an appearance in the mailroom, the majority of flooring needs were met with carpet tiles. In order to address the sustainability of that material, Shaw’s cradle-to-cradle practices were taken into account, including its standard low VOC, high performance EcoWorx backing, the industry’s first fully sustainable, non-PVC carpet tile backing. 

Lighting is always an issue in an office space. The lighting design was created to consume as little energy as possible and integrated with the entire office by using other features of the design, such as paint color and private office ceiling selections. Many other materials make up the design, and natural and recycled materials were used throughout, including recycled glass countertops and pressboard on cabinets and millwork walls. FSC-certified products and low-VOC paints, glues and adhesives were specified in all areas, and reclaimed barnwood was used liberally, including the reception area desk, branding walls and other free-standing, low-height partitions.

In an effort to remain continually sustainable, a 75-kilowatt, roof-mounted solar photovoltaic array offsets 100% of the building’s energy consumption. In the Sustainability Lab, energy generation versus usage is tracked and monitored for this office and multiple client facilities across the country. Results are displayed on a series of flat screens, easily viewable by passersby. An additional photovoltaic array was installed on a structure composed of frameless solar panels, which create power for electric car charging stations near the rear building entry and provide shade for the back patio.

The result creates high praise from the occupants, “Not only did we reduce our operating expenses, we are now working in a very bright, high-energy, high-collaboration environment,” said Christopher Day, vice president of Swinerton Builders.

Overall, the building has become a model for the commercial real estate industry on the repositioning of underperforming assets, while providing a work environment that is committed to energy savings and creative design to enhance employee satisfaction. It not only reflects the personality of Swinerton Builders but also strikes a balance between sustainability, technology and a modern, vital work environment, which connects to both its diverse team and client base.

Copyright 2013 Floor Focus



Other Archived Articles

New York Area Manufacturing Surges in July   Full Article
New York, NY, July 15, 2014 -- A New York-area manufacturing index rose to its highest level in more than four years this month.

Retail Sales Rise in June   Full Article
Washington, DC, July 15, 2014 -- Retail sales rose in June despite slower auto sales, according to the Commerce Department.

FIANA, CFI Planning Joint Event in September   Full Article
Vancouver, WA, July 15, 2014 -- The Floor Installation Association of North America and the Certified Floorcovering Installers are planning a joint convention in New Orleans Sept. 4-6.

Beaulieu International Group To Build Plant in Georgia   Full Article
Cartersville, GA, July 15, 2014 -- Beaulieu International Group said it will invest $200 million to build a campus-style manufacturing facility in Cartersville.

Volkswagen Chooses Chattanooga for New SUV   Full Article
Chattanooga, TN, July 14, 2014 -- Volkswagen said it will invest $600 million to build a new seven-passenger SUV at its factory in Chattanooga.

Median Age, Credit Scores For High-End Borrowers Fall   Full Article
New York, NY, July 14, 2014 -- The median age of borrowers seeking high balance mortgages has declined steadily over the last three years, according to private lender LoanDepot.

Meritage Homes To Acquire Atlanta Builder Legendary   Full Article
Scottsdale, AZ, July 14, 2014 -- Meritage Homes said it will acquire the Atlanta-based homebuilder Legendary Communities for approximately $130 million.

Previous Record Low Rates Hurting Home Sales   Full Article
New York, NY, July 11, 2014 -- Low interest rates are keeping some people from selling their homes, which is limiting supply and putting a damper on the housing recovery.

Metroflor's Aspecta Wins Award   Full Article
Norwalk, CT, July 11 -- Metroflor said that its new LVT contract brand, Aspecta, was acknowledged by the Product Innovations 2014 awards bestowed by Buildings magazine to a group of 30 finalists exclusive to NeoCon exhibitors.

Buchanan Hardwoods Gets NWFA Certification   Full Article
St. Louis, MO, July 11, 2014 -- The National Wood Flooring Association said that Buchanan Hardwoods, of Aliceville, Alabama, has earned the NWFA/NOFMA Mill Certification for its Elite Flooring.

Business Economists See Improving Economy   Full Article
Washington, DC, July 11, 2014 -- Business economists have lowered their expectations for second quarter growth but don't believe a recession will occur anytime soon.

Initial Jobless Claims Beat Expectations   Full Article
Washington, DC, July 10, 2014 -- Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell 3.5% to 304,000 for the week ending July 5, according to the Labor Department.

McGrane Named Executive VP at Max Windsor   Full Article
Adairsville, GA, July 10, 2014 -- Joshua McGrane ?has been named executive vice president? of ?Max Windsor USA.

Tile of Spain Seeking Design Contest Entries   Full Article
Madrid, Spain, July 10, 2014 -- The 13th Tile of Spain Awards of Architecture and Interior Design is seeking entries.

Lumber Liquidators Lowers Forecast, Stock Plunges   Full Article
New York, NY, July 10, 2014 -- Shares of Lumber Liquidators fell as much as 15% in after-hours trading on Wednesday after the company lowered guidance for the full year 2014.

Soniclean Partners With Shaw on Soft Carpet Vacuum   Full Article
New York, NY, July 10, 2014 -- Soniclean said it has partnered with Shaw Industries to address the growing demand for a vacuum cleaner capable of cleaning soft style carpeting.

Teragren Names Vice President of Sales   Full Article
Bainbridge Island, WA, July 10, 2014 -- Teragren has named Mark Jordan vice president of sales.

Dixie Group Added to Russell Stock Indexes   Full Article
Chattanooga, TN, July 10, 2014 -- The Dixie Group said it was added to the Russell 3000 Index and Russell 2000 Index when Russell Investments reconstituted its comprehensive set of U.S. and global equity indexes on June 27.

Congoleum Closing New Jersey Warehouse   Full Article
Hamilton Township, NJ, July 10, 2014 -- The Congoleum flooring warehouse here will cease operations later this year.

CRI Posts Model Specification for Commercial Carpet   Full Article
Dalton, GA, July 9, 2014 -- The Carpet and Rug Institute said its Model Specification for Commercial Carpet is now available online at Carpet-Rug.org.