When the Duchossois Group (TDG) was eager to create a corporate headquarters for its leading brand, Chamberlain Group Incorporated (CGI), three goals were paramount to the design: operating with optimal flexibility, creating a sense of home with amenities, and connecting to the natural environment. Each of these supports TDG’s strategic vision to create a transformational platform that empowers and inspires. The building consolidates over 650 people from four facilities into one 20-acre campus bringing CGI’s multi-disciplinary team into a lively incubator space.
For a headquarters that will evolve over decades, flexibility is key. Interchangeable workstations and collaboration hubs are modulated to allow for future flexibility as needs shift over time. These easily identifiable activity hubs create interactions that were impossible when CGI’s employees were scattered between buildings.
From the lobby, the public area serpentines around an open showroom displaying CGI’s latest product innovations through interactive media and expands to the employees’ “backyard”. Adjacent to the vista, the café accommodates seating for 250 people with views of the outdoor terrace, walking path, and reflecting pond. Fitness and game rooms are adjacent to promote health, wellness, and a social environment.
The building form creates a striking presence and is a direct response to the environment, angulating to the path of the sun. The self-shading form works with the integral passive solar shading system and high-performance glass to optimize thermal performance and balance daylighting within the space. The building embraces the landscaping by preserving mature oak trees and woodlands to the north.
The design of the CGI headquarters was driven by performance and stewardship. The architecture minimizes the three largest energy loads in an office building: heating, cooling, and lighting; all while providing views and optimal thermal and lighting environments for the employees. A major focus of the design was providing access to the site – supporting the client’s initiative to encourage employees to be more health conscious from the first decision of the work day, parking. Priority parking spaces are provided for carpooling and energy efficient vehicles. For those employees that ride bikes to work, indoor and outdoor bike racks are provided along with changing rooms and showers. A meandering walking path was carefully designed on the north end of the site, wandering through the natural landscape. Access to this path comes both from the outdoor patio off of the café as well as from the second floor terrace. Currently, CGI is charging forward with their health and wellness initiative – with not only a focus on physical health, but also social and emotional wellbeing. #WellBeingWednesday, their catchy-titled program, has become a fundamental part of their culture through hosting 5K walks/runs on the walking paths surrounding the building; encouraging healthy eating with tastings, cooking demos, and providing healthy options in the café; and a 45-day fitness challenge that utilizes the fitness room to create a sense of community support and encouragement.
The building form was derived using an iterative computational analysis tool which compared thousands of potential forms to optimize placement on the site, finalize the building orientation, and inform the self-shading curvature. This formal analysis was aided by cladding choices, including the high-performance curtain wall at the transparent southern façade with integral, passive solar shading tuned to balance between reducing heat gain and glare in the summer and maximizing early morning heat gain in the winter to offset energy usage. CGI headquarters’ design energy usage is 55.7 kBtu/SF/year which is a 12% reduction in energy per Energy Star’s Baseline target. The design CO2-eq emissions is 2,526.7 metric tons/year which is a 25% reduction over the target value. CGI’s energy performance design rating is 89 which is 14 points over the target. As the shape and skin are honed to balance heating and cooling, the depth of the floorplate is an intelligent aperture to daylight and views. The 90’ wide angulating plan carefully intertwines the site’s mature woodlands with a series of highly flexible interior spaces that allows 75% of the floor to be daylit for over half the year. This led to a large savings in interior lighting through daylight harvesting which materialized in a 44% savings over the baseline EUI.
While the walk score is not optimal at 23, many accommodations were made on site to ensure health and wellness for employees on-site. With a 0.70 mile walking path that winds through multiple natural settings that change with the seasons, healthy food choices from the multiple stations in the café, and a fitness room on campus, the CGI headquarters emulates a mini-community itself. The outside community is invited into the building to utilize areas such as the conference center and learn about CGI’s innovations in the showroom. 610 parking spaces have been provided for the 640 current employees.
Stormwater strategies for this site include reducing existing impervious areas and directing stormwater runoff through a series of bioswales or overland sheet flow through vegetated areas to two detention basins in order to delay the stormwater volume and peak discharge to the sewer system, while improving overall water quality. The site saw an 18% reduction of existing impervious area from 9.82 acres to 8.01 acres. The parking lots, comprising the majority of at-grade imperviousness, surface drain to a system of vegetated swales separating the parking stalls to help promote water quality. Two surface detention ponds outlet through a control structure designed to meet the release rate requirements for both the 2-year and 100-year storm events. Stormwater management facilities are designed to limit post-construction peak discharge rates at both outfall locations per code requirements. The detention ponds are designed to hold a total storage of 1.68 ac-ft for the 2-year storm and 6.59 ac-ft for the 100-yr storm. 96.4% of the disturbed site is directed and drained to the detention systems, with only 3.6% of the site remaining undetained. Native and wetland plantings have been used in the bioswale and detention basin areas to capture nonpoint source pollutants and promote water quality. 1.2 acres of wetland and buffer areas have been created and/or enhanced on the property providing additional depressional storage and water quality benefits.
For the interior water use, the choice of low-flow fixtures contribute to a 36% reduction in regulated potable water reduction from the baseline.
Choosing low emitting materials was a priority for the CGI headquarters – including composite wood and agrifiber products, flooring materials, paints and coatings, and adhesives and sealants. While LEED 2009 only requires 20% of composite wood and agrifiber products have product data that proves the exclusion of Urea-Formaldehyde (UF), the actual construction proved that 88% of applicable products did not include UF. For low VOC flooring materials and paints and coatings, 100% of VOC product data was researched, and all products emit substantially lower units than the allowable. The general contractor performed construction waste management to divert 100% of all wood, metal, concrete, plastic, drywall, and cardboard waste due to construction. This totaled to 622.35 tons of waste diverted from the landfill which equaled 86.8% of all waste on the job site.