An integrated design approach to Edwards Lifesciences’ 10-acre headquarters expansion developed a high-performance campus designed to spark creativity, innovation and a healthier workforce.
Edwards Lifesciences is focused on helping patients and believes that a collaborative, inspiring environment will spur innovation and support the company’s life-saving work.
The latest addition to the industry-leading medical device manufacturer’s Irvine, California, headquarters is a 469,000-square-foot campus that was designed around ambitious, clearly defined performance goals. The campus includes a two-story entry pavilion, a three-story office/lab building, a two-story full-service dining facility and conference center, and a four-story office/lab building. The three buildings earned LEED Gold certification and met the American Institute of Architects 2030 Commitment threshold of a 70% predicted energy use reduction; the entry pavilion is net zero energy and earned LEED Platinum certification, the USGBC’s highest designation.
A centrally located, net zero energy, LEED Platinum entry pavilion provides a secure visitor entrance for the campus.
The expansion is the latest step in a decade-long relationship between client and designer, focused on developing a corporate campus centered on health and wellness and fostering creativity and innovation.
“From the beginning, the campus was all about strengthening the culture of innovation,” says LPA Chief Design Officer Keith Hempel. “It’s about creating opportunities for connections and collisions, and an environment where people can work through problems outside of their desk or outside of a conference room.”
The LEED Platinum, 22,000-square-foot Starr Atrium bridged two existing office buildings and created gathering, social and work areas for staff.
The relationship between LPA and Edwards Lifesciences started with a master plan, which created a road map for the campus rooted in the firm’s mission. The company wanted to “show our commitment to our employees and our community in the design of our campus,” says Tom Porter, Senior Vice President Corporate Services. The discussion of buildings and spaces never strayed far from the company’s focus on life-saving work.
The first project in the relationship between designer and client was a 1,200-stall parking structure, which included a 4,500-square-foot green wall that is among the largest of its kind in North America.
“There’s an incredible humanity to not only what they do, but who they are, and that had to be reflected in every aspect of what we did,” says LPA Design Director Rick D’Amato.
The first project was a 1,200-stall parking structure, which included a 4,500-square-foot green wall that is among the largest of its kind in North America. The unassuming parking garage was a linchpin to the future campus; the green wall created a biophilic backdrop for the site and photovoltaic panels on the canopy system that supplied energy to the growing campus.
LPA’s engineers, interior designers and landscape architects were involved from the earliest stages of the campus planning process. All the disciplines were engaged in the unique collaborative relationship with Edwards Lifesciences’ leaders, focused on the company’s larger goals.
“Achieving all of the sustainable design and conservation goals wouldn’t have been possible without adopting an integrated approach,” says LPA Managing Director Damon Dusterhoft. “We took Edwards Lifesciences’ master plan and applied it through all the disciplines that LPA offers.”
The 469,000-square-foot campus expansion includes a two-story entry pavilion, a three-story office/lab building, a two-story full-service dining facility and conference center, and a four-story office/lab building.
Step by step, the campus grew around outdoor workspaces and shared environments. In 2017 Edwards Lifesciences added the LPA-designed, LEED Platinum, 22,000-square-foot Starr Atrium, which created a bridge between two existing office buildings and provided a dramatic new entry to the corporate headquarters. The space — a gathering spot with social and work areas for staff — was made possible by a unique “truss net” structural system, designed by LPA engineers, which controls seismic movement, maximizes the open space and casts an artistic weave of natural light through the space.
There’s an incredible humanity to not only what they do, but who they are, and that had to be reflected in every aspect of what we did.
The design creates opportunities for connections and collisions, strengthening the firm’s culture of innovation.
Edwards Lifesciences acquired the 10-acre parcel in 2018 for the latest expansion, with the company forecast to exceed 4,000 employees. The new buildings are arranged around a series of outdoor plazas and courtyards. A mesh of skywalks and bridges acts as arteries for the campus, weaving together the new and existing elements.
“We wanted to create a sense of connectivity between the different buildings,” says LPA Design Director Franco Brown. “The buildings became this very elegant, interconnected system that really symbolized the spirit of the client, which is all about collaboration and creativity through chance encounters.”
Outdoor spaces provide a mix of active and contemplative spaces. Corridors, stairs and connecting walkways were pulled to the exterior, minimizing the project’s energy consumption by eliminating the need for air conditioning and lighting in these spaces. All exterior circulation spaces are shaded and activated with gathering spaces and planted roof decks. The roof decks are shaded with canopies constructed with photovoltaic panels.
The landscape framework connecting the spaces includes tree-lined walkways, precast pavers and a palette of native, drought-tolerant plants, all part of a system of bioretention areas and modular wetlands that treat 100% of stormwater runoff.
“The goal was to use the landscape to connect all of the existing buildings and any future buildings to create a cohesive campus environment,” says LPA Senior Landscape Architect Danielle Cleveland. “The outdoor space was crucial to Edwards Lifesciences and their employees’ wellness, and giving them that opportunity to gather and socialize outdoors greatly contributed to that. The landscape is really that thing that can connect everything together, and by providing destinations throughout the site we could make sure that there was equitable outdoor space for every portion of the campus.”
The relationship between LPA and Edwards Lifesciences started with a master plan, which created a road map for the campus rooted in the firm’s mission. “The company wanted to show our commitment to our employees and our community in the design of our campus.
The new buildings are a mix of offices, administrative spaces, core-and-shell lab spaces and meeting areas, as well as a dining and conference center and a museum. The company’s history and story are woven into the spaces, which are filled with collaborative zones and different areas for employees to find quiet and fresh air.
High-performance glass helps reduce energy use.
The design purposely puts sustainability on display. PV arrays provide essential shade canopies throughout the courtyards, and expressive roof overhangs are a daily reminder of the energy-saving strategies. High-performance fritted “campus blue” glass, ceramic glass fins, louvered skylights and photovoltaic panels help reduce energy use. High-efficiency mechanical systems and LED lighting minimize the campus expansion’s energy consumption. Each building is outfitted with renewable energy systems in the form of roof-mounted photovoltaic panels, which further offset their optimized loads.
Outdoor spaces provide a mix of active and contemplative spaces, while exterior circulation reduces energy consumption needs.
The pavilion features a double-height lobby and transparent glass façade fronted by a landscaped courtyard and complemented by a dramatic overhang of PV panels. The space is a new “window to the world” for the campus, a welcoming space that reimagines the visitor experience and spotlights the company’s work, while providing an important point of contact for the scientists, doctors, patients and families who visit the campus.
The company regularly hosts patients who have received their life-saving heart valves. They get a chance to see where their valve was created and meet the people who made it happen. It is often an emotional experience.
“It was so rewarding to work with Edwards Lifesciences to design environments that reflect the gravity of that relationship between staff and patient,” D’Amato says.