Kendall Honors New Haworth Headquarters

May 12, 2008
| By Pete Daly |
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GRAND RAPIDS —  Phase 1 of One Haworth Center, the company's new headquarters in Holland, is complete and already occupied, and the building will be formally dedicated May 21.

It has been designed and built over the past two years to LEED-NC (New Construction) Gold specifications. Haworth showrooms in Chicago and Los Angeles are already LEED-CI (Commercial Interiors) Gold-certified, while other Haworth showrooms in Dallas, Washington, D.C., New York and Toronto are LEED-CI registered.

Haworth Inc. and the interior designer of One Haworth Center were jointly honored by Kendall College of Art and Design at a special public event held recently at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre.

Oliver Evans, president of Kendall, presented an Honorary Doctorate of Arts degree to Eva Maddox, a principal at the Chicago office of architectural and interior design firm Perkins + Will/Eva Maddox Branded Environments.

Kendall officials praised Maddox for her "extraordinary talents" as evidenced by the design of One Haworth Center, and "for her generous gifts of time and talent to Kendall."

A native of Tennessee who holds a degree in design from the University of Cincinnati, Maddox has lived in Chicago since 1971 and is actively involved with schools there in addition to her design work.

Maddox said her approach is an attempt to integrate a client's "DNA" into the space the client occupies. She is the leader of the Perkins + Will Branded Environments group, which focuses on alternative learning processes, restorative/green spaces, and the integration of community/cultural interpretations within corporate, education and health care environments.

Haworth was also recognized for "its involvement and dedication to the West Michigan community and its growing importance as a design center, and its commitment to education and Kendall through gifts to the college’s long-lived annual NeoCon class," according to a statement released by Kendall.

One Haworth Center, which when fully completed will have office workstations for 750 to 800 employees, is largely built of material recycled from the original headquarters building and has one of the largest green roofs in West Michigan — 45,000 square feet planted with sedum, a flowering groundcover used to prevent rainwater run-off and help prolong the life of the roof.

"This is really LEED Gold sustainable space," said Maddox, adding that the new office space is "absolutely modular" — fully adaptable to the users and to the needs of the company as those needs change.

"It really represents the culture of the company," added Maddox.

In addition to the interior design, Perkins + Will was the architect of the building. That work was supervised by Ralph Johnson, lead architect at Perkins + Will, one of the largest architectural firms in the U.S.

The green roof was installed by LiveRoof, a subsidiary of Hortech Inc. of Spring Lake. A green roof reduces stormwater run-off, which is a major problem in many large cities where rapid run-off from roofs and pavement quickly overloads storm and sanitary sewer systems. A green roof also diminishes the “heat island” effect that raises temperatures in urban environments, and it also supports wildlife. A green roof has a longer life than a conventional roof because the plants block the long-term damage of the sun's rays.

The new building, when the smaller Phase 2 portion is completed late this year, will measure 300,000 square feet. Before renovation, it was 250,000 square feet.

While the project has been called a "renovation," Haworth spokesperson Julie Smith said that word doesn't accurately describe what actually happened.

"If you had ever been here before, you wouldn't recognize the place as it stands now," said Smith.  "We stripped the building back to its cement floors and steel beams, and rebuilt it out from there. The reason we did it that way is, we actually recycled about 98 percent of the old building," said Smith.

Smith said everything that was in the previous structure that couldn't be reused or recycled was sold or donated. Carpet tiles were sold to recyclers, or cleaned and donated to schools. The furniture was sold, or dismantled and recycled, or donated to nonprofit organizations.

Over 321 tons of steel and more than 12 tons of other metals were recycled.

Each day Haworth generates several tons of concrete waste dust in the process of manufacturing its TecCrete access flooring panels for office areas. The dust is normally recycled into road bed construction, but it was diverted into the manufacture of concrete blocks that were then used in the new building.

The old windows did not go to a landfill, either. They were collected by EPI Concrete Products in Grandville, which specializes in concrete blocks made with recycled glass aggregate.

Although a three-story interior entry wall is made from virgin oak, no trees were harvested for the renovation. The oak was supplied by Timeless Timber, a Wisconsin company that recovers and mills virgin old-growth timber — wood that is 300 years old or more — that was cut during the logging boom of the late 1800s and early 1900s and then lost, sinking to the bottom of the Great Lakes and rivers entering the lakes from the U.S. and Canada. All those years under water have given some of the oak a dark hue, which is why some of the panels in One Haworth Center are described as "ebony oak."

Even the 22,500 modules that hold the sedum plants on the roof are made from recycled plastic scrap recovered from Haworth manufacturing processes.

Although the dismantling and reconstruction began about two years ago, Smith said development of concepts for the new building began at least six or seven years ago.

"We knew years ago we were going to need a new roof, and some new heating and cooling systems," said Smith.

According to the Haworth Web site, energy use is expected to remain at pre-renovation levels, even though the new building is 20 percent larger.

Among the guests at the May 21 dedication of the building will be S. Richard Fedrizzi, president/CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council, and the founding chairman of that organization.

Haworth, a privately held company, will not divulge how much it is investing in the new headquarters.

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