Adobe Campus — Lehi, Utah

Casting Creativity in Concrete

 
Adobe stair detail
Size
260,000 SF
Cost
$65M
Completion
2012
Architects
WRNS Studio
GSBS
Interior Architect
RAPT Studio
Contractor
Okland Construction
Structural Engineers
Dunn Associates
Holmes Structures
Awards
SEAONC Award of Merit
AIA California Council Award
IIDA Best Large Tech Office
AIASF Merit Award


Whether in the built environment or in the digital realm, groundbreaking design comes from challenging assumptions and pushing beyond conventional boundaries. When digital media and marketing software company Adobe Systems decided to build a new corporate campus in Lehi, Utah, it wanted a unique structure that would embody its brand’s reputation for creativity.

Adobe set an unconventional course from the beginning. A scenic 13-acre Utah Valley site with views of the Wasatch Mountains was chosen as the location for the new campus. The site’s natural surroundings and easy access made it ideal, but the long, narrow site was divided in half by a four-lane road.

Despite the unusual site features, Adobe’s goal of creating an iconic building to serve as a recruiting tool, provide inspiration for employees and foster collaboration remained the same.

Adobe’s goal was to build an icon at a cost typical of other office buildings in the area.

Adobe Utah interior corridor
Adobe interior grand stair

Holmes Structures was selected as the structural engineer for the project before the search for the campus’ location began. This allowed Adobe, Holmes Structures, designers and contractors to quickly form a true design team. The master planning phase began while Adobe was still in the process of procuring the site.

Adobe facade at night

The first challenge the team tackled was how to cross the 120-foot roadway without making the workplace feel like two separate campuses. Early design options used pedestrian connections, bridges and tunnels to link the two sides of the site. While working together to sketch out these options, the design team refocused on Adobe’s main objective—creating an inspirational, iconic structure. This led the team past the more predictable solutions to something far beyond the ordinary. The office building itself would span the roadway to join the north and south halves of the site.

Adobe sketch book
Bridge to span four lane road.
Adobe Utah Bridge diagram

The challenge for the team was to select the right structural solution to ensure the innovative design could be accomplished within budget. While a steel-frame building would cost less initially, the expense to finish the interior spaces would increase the price dramatically.

Zander Sivyer, Principal in Charge
Adobe Utah bridge
Adobe Utah workstations
Exposed concrete structure

By choosing reinforced concrete, the building material could be incorporated into the raw aesthetic of the design and provide overall cost savings to the client.

A moment-frame system was used to cantilever areas of the building over the reinforced concrete base to add visual interest alongside the varied topography of its surroundings. The four-story structure is narrow with a steel and glass façade to take full advantage of the views.

The new Adobe campus shows that exemplary design doesn’t have to be more expensive if the approach is thoughtful. Working together from master planning to completion with a shared vision, the team finished the building in 27 months.

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