METAGENICS CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS BRINGING THE OUTSIDE IN: CREATING A NATURAL WORKING ENVIRONMENT ON THE CORPORATE CAMPUS

Take a moment to visualize the typical workspace of corporate America. Rows and rows of small cubicles surrounded by large offices with thick walls and few windows, all illuminated with flat fluorescent lighting - very ordinary. There are new ideas emerging, however, in the design of corporate offices. The key to transforming the ordinary workspace is to give the employees what they miss while inside all day; the sunshine, the blue sky, open space. In other words, bring the outside to the inside.

Until recently, Metagenics, one of the pioneering manufacturers of natural preventative medicine, leased office and warehouse space in six different locations in San Clemente. Separate made communication and coordination difficult for a quickly growing company. It was time for a change. According to Jeffery Katke, President and CEO of Metagenics, "Change should be illuminating. It is a tremendous opportunity for each of us to stop and reflect upon who we are, what we do, what we hope to accomplish, and how we can benefit our customers."

Developers Lowe Enterprises Commercial Group, designers GAA Architects, Inc., and contractors Gentosi Builders adopted these words as motivation to create an entirely new and innovative corporate office building for Metagenics. According to Bill Goltermann, Project Manager of Lowe Enterprises Commercial Group, the build-to-suit structure evolved from continuous design improvements from start to finish. Paul Gentosi, President of Gentosi Builders adds, "We were faced with a tight construction schedule. Communication and teamwork were vital to the project's success".

The new Metagenics headquarters is located just a few miles from the beach on a nine-acre bluff in San Clemente. Work space and warehouse space has more than doubled with all manufacturing, administrative and packing operations housed in the 126,000 square foot building. The interior is state-of-the-art, flooded by natural light from 42 skylight openings. A number of these skylights are also flared out, thereby crating larger light wells at the ceiling opening and maximizing the amount of natural lighting to the interior. The interior design also provides Metagenics employees with an unobstructed view of the tropically landscaped areas outside from virtually every location in the building. "Hard walls exist only at the central portions of the interior workspace with glass walls around the perimeter offices creating a very flexible, open and airy atmosphere," according to Ken Paddock, Project Manager for GAA.

Throughout its design and construction, the Metagenics philosophy of healthy living is embodied in its clean lines combined with natural colors and textures. The exterior paving and coffered curved entry with skylights is created from natural stone. The extruded aluminum columns found outside the entrance are repeated inside to further the continuity between the natural environment and the working environment. According to Guy Duerwald, Project Manager for GAA, "Eclipse arctic blue glass was chosen for the windows to give the exterior a very deep, rich appearance."

At a cost of over 8 million dollars, the Metagenics Corporate Headquarters is recognized as the largest industrial building in San Clemente. By combining all operations in one central location, Metagenics has greatly improved overall efficiency. According to Ralph Clark, Facilities Manager for Metagenics, "Production is up, document flow is faster, communication is greatly improved, and everyone is very pleased with the new location." The master plan was designed for growing manufacturing and administrative needs with ample room for up to 500 employees. There are eight spacious conference rooms plus a larger boardroom for training and meeting purposes. A fitness center, cantina, and colorfully landscaped patio areas allow associates the opportunity for some relaxation and recreation during the workday.

In the future, we can expect a more active use of open space on the corporate campus that maximizes functionality while providing an attractive, comfortable working environment. These design features foster creativity, encourage networking and increase productivity and efficiency for the corporation as a whole. The new Metagenics Headquarters is a timely example of these new trends in corporate office design.