This adaptive re-use of a 1970’s era data center transforms what most considered a ‘throw away’ building into an unexpected and exciting corporate headquarters for a billboard advertising company. To counteract the expansive, largely windowless floor plate of the existing building, the design removes a portion of the structure to create an outdoor court – or ‘garden room’ – that brings a captured landscape and daylight into the middle of the office environment. Elsewhere in the building, additional structure was removed to connect the multiple floors into one communicating whole, promoting employee interaction and reinforcing the culture of the company as a single creative community.
Lamar Advertising Corporate Headquarters | Notes of Interest
At its core, the design of this new workplace for a billboard advertising company’s corporate headquarters is informed by some fairly basic tenets: People like variety; they need places to congregate; casual interaction fosters teamwork and creativity; natural light is a good thing; a little visual excitement can’t hurt.
People require interaction in today’s workplace; they go to work to meet and collaborate, to brainstorm, to do research, to engage in a range of activities they don’t necessarily think of as “work” in the traditional sense of the word. Much of what is observed in creative environments is informal interaction in atypical or nontraditional settings, such as chance meetings in corridors or conversations around the coffeepot. The design proposal for this project was structured to reinforce this culture of openness.
To accomplish this, the design radically alters the internal configuration of a 1970s-era data center but leaves the exterior essentially unchanged. In doing so, the design transforms what many considered a throw-away building into something exciting and unexpected, providing a creative environment that promotes interaction.
The existing building presented an expansive floor plate with small narrow windows at the perimeter, providing limited access to light and few views to the outside. To counteract this condition, the design carves out a large portion of the interior of the building to introduce an outdoor court—a “garden room”—that brings light into the middle of the floor plate and a captured landscape into the center of the office environment. With this one gesture, the design weaves light and energy into the space in a way that transforms the typical office environment into one with nature at its core.
• Engineer - Civil/Site: ABMB Engineers, Inc.
• Engineer - Civil/Structural: Fox-Nesbit Engineering, LLC.
• Engineer - MEP: Henderson Engineers, Inc.
• Engineer - Structural: Dean C. McKee, LLC.
• General Contractor: Buquet-LeBlanc, Inc.
• Landscape Architect: Spackman, Mossop+Michaels
© Timothy Hursley
Lamar Advertising Corporate Headquarters
• Architect: Eskew+Dumez+Ripple
• Owner: Lamar Advertising Company
• Location: Baton Rouge
This project was commended for the simplicity yet complexity of the plan and section moves, especially the creation of the interior courtyard and the way light is brought into the building.
The interior moves are made more powerful by the decision to retain the original exterior facade of the data center rather than remove and replace it with a glazed curtain wall.
The incorporation of various billboard-related elements is clever and well done.
This project shows the potential for the reuse of the growing catalog of mid- and late-20th-century low-rise buildings throughout the country and demonstrates how an interior transformation can be a more sustainable approach than demolition and new construction.
2013 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture Jury
• Andrew Wells, FAIA (Chair)
• Dake Wells Architecture, Springfield, Missouri
• Susan H. Jones, FAIA
• Atelierjones, LLC, Seattle
• Carlos M. Martinez, AIA
• Gensler, Chicago
• Ronald J. McCoy, FAIA
• Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
• Catherine M. Truman, AIA
• Ann Beha Architects, Boston
View images, jury comments and additional credit information for the 2013 recipients of the AIA Institute Honor Awards.