University Research Park (URP) recently partnered with Valerio Dewalt Train (VDT) to produce a master plan meant to enliven and densify the office park’s existing facilities. A master plan was created with the intention of carving a new road from a bordering main artery street and adding below-grade parking to leave the ground level open for public space and amenities accessible by foot.
The master plan caught the eye of Exact Sciences, a molecular diagnostics company, which led to the company committing to working with URP and VDT to design an office building to serve as its headquarters. The new facility would bring together their executive and R&D teams into a single, collaborative, amenity-rich space.
The 135,000-sf building’s final design, which was shaped by biophilic design principles, comprises two interconnected volumes that sit on the northeast corner of the newly platted site, directly linking to the R&D labs on the south-eastern side. The curving enclosure of the primary volume is composed of bands of glass, ceramic print panels, and a zinc cladding that will patina over time. The exposed concrete structure lifts the organically shaped upper floors to give the appearance that the building is floating over the ground plane and exposing the wooden finish of its underbelly.
A double-height lobby is inset underneath while the second floor connects to the southern volume with a large cafeteria space expressed on the exterior with a rectilinear balcony that meets the street. The adjacent glass and steel volume, dubbed “the link,” connects to the labs with a stair and backlit panels that glow during evening hours.
Levels three through five feature desks, meeting rooms, and office amenities. Vertical circulation and services are tucked into the building’s core, which pushes the desk areas to the periphery to provide employees with unobstructed access to natural light and exterior views via floor-to-ceiling glazing. Additionally, three levels of parking are tucked beneath the ground plane.
Along with VDT, the build team also included Potter Lawson (interior designer), Findorff (general contractor), Smith Group (civil engineer), Thornton Tomassetti (structural engineer), and AEI (MEP and fire protection).