Design Architect: ZGF Associate Architect: Arch11
Project Narrative: Like its outdoor-loving, athletic customers, Pearl Izumi envisioned an equally high-performing work environment for its employees to support its longtime goal of developing the world’s “foremost line of technical- performing and quality manufactured sports apparel.” The design of its North American headquarters―a collaboration between design firms, Arch11 and ZGF Architects LLP―was a demonstration in artfully integrating complex programmatic elements within a new 54,000-square-foot energy-efficient structure. The Pearl Izumi headquarters workspace features open and transparent offices along with shared amenities that include a fitness room, a living room, collaboration spaces, break areas, bike room, locker rooms, a protected courtyard, porches and an outdoor amphitheater. By limiting vertical separation between spaces the design naturally encourages interdepartmental exchange.
With an emphasis on research and development, prototyping and testing, and committed to the ideal of exercising outside – 365 days a year in any condition – Pearl Izumi wanted its building to have a connection to the outdoors and have a dialogue with the site’s topography. In response, the building is designed to follow the natural contours of the hillside on which it is sited. With immediate access to recreation trails and dramatic views of the area’s famed Flatirons, the elongated floor plan is oriented outward so every space provides a view to the landscape. Large window apertures pop up along the sweeping roof form and provide abundant natural light deep into interior spaces along with a seasonally-changing backdrop of sky and earth. Outside magazine recognized the linear office building among its “7 Best Gear Offices in the World” siting its deft connections with its natural surroundings—including consciously promoting its employees active outdoor lifestyle.
Design strategy: To pay homage to the site’s agrarian roots, the design team selected a minimal palette of natural weathering steel, concrete, glass and recycled snow fence for cladding. As a result, the low-slung building appears to organically emerge from the ground plane and follow the gentle topography of the site. For ease of construction and improved energy performance, SIPS panels within a steel frame were used to construct the exterior envelope.
The design for Pearl Izumi straddles home, work, and recreation. It is a thoughtful response to the relationships between people, place and program and especially in Colorado, between indoors and out― all which works in concert to create a sustainable, comfortable, and inspiring work environment.