GSK Philadelphia Navy Yard HQ: A New Standard

GlaxoSmithKline’s Philadelphia Navy Yard offices are continuing to make a positive impression aesthetically and environmentally.  GSK’s new office building, designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) with interior spaces designed by Francis Cauffman, showcases a state-of-the-art flexible office environment and sustainable design strategies.  Daylighting plays a significant role in the lighting design for the building.  The Lighting Practice was responsible for designing a lighting system that would utilize daylight, lower power consumption, and provide a comfortable environment for GSK’s employees to work.  The building’s lighting consumes 25% less power than allowed by code and the project has received LEED Platinum Certification for both Core and Shell and Interior.

Forget the Office Park

GlaxoSmithKline’s new Philadelphia headquarters shrank the company’s footprint while increasing its performance.
By John Gendall | EcoBuilding Pulse

For a company in the midst of growth, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) took an unusual approach to building its new headquarters. Rather than opening a swaggering flagship as a way of trumpeting its growth curve, it reduced its office footprint by 75 percent in a distinctive, but understated, new building designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA).

The project’s origins trace their way back to 2004, when Pennsylvania-based developer Liberty Property Trust hired RAMSA to develop a master plan for Philadelphia’s post-industrial Navy Yard. The architects were determined to avoid the car-centered typology that sprawls across the suburbs. “This straddles urban and suburban as an alternative to traditional office parks,” says RAMSA partner Meghan McDermott, AIA.

So when GSK started scouting sites for its new headquarters, the Navy Yard was an appealing choice. The 205,000-square-foot building—officially named Five Crescent Drive—was conceived as two distinct parts: a four-story core-and-shell, designed by RAMSA and developed by Liberty Property Trust, and interior spaces that were commissioned by GSK and designed by Francis Cauffman. Notably, both projects were certified LEED Platinum, which, at the time, was the sixth such double-certification.

The client and designers treated the entire project in a highly empirical way, testing ideas against specific performance standards. “The decision to move to the Navy Yard came from analyzing how we were using space,” GSK project executive Ray Milora explains. With a 15½-year lease, GSK was essentially embarking on a build-to-suit process. “Here, we really had an opportunity to carry out some clear goals about GSK’s global commitment to environmental responsibility.”

Read the full article here: Forget the Office Park


Green Team

Base building architect: Robert A.M. Stern Architects; Kendall/Heaton Associates
Interior fit-out, interior designer: Francis Cauffman
Developer, owner: Liberty Property/Synterra, L.P., a joint-venture of Liberty Property Trust & Synterra Partners
Tenant, client: GlaxoSmithKline
Mechanical engineer, electrical engineer: Buro Happold; Wick Fisher White
Structural engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
Civil engineer: Pennoni Associates
Construction manager, general contractor: L.F. Driscoll Co.
Lighting designer: The Lighting Practice
LEED consultant: Buro Happold; Atkins
LEED commissioning engineer: Bala Engineers