TRANSFORMING THE NATURE OF THE WORKPLACE

Irvine Company’s Innovation Office Park is a 75-acre master-planned campus focused on sparking creativity and connecting people to the outdoors.

Designed before the pandemic, Innovation Office Park, a 1.1-million-square-foot development in Irvine, California, addresses many of the issues at the forefront of the post-COVID workplace.

The 75-acre campus, the first phase of which opened in the spring of 2021, was developed as an “open-air office village,” with a focus on creating a healthier workplace. The main feature of the site is an olive and pine tree-lined pedestrian pathline made from handpicked stones, which serves as a central spine for the campus. Every one of the site’s 28 buildings offers access to the wide pathline, drawing staff outside and creating connections between the other buildings and social space for pop-up restaurants and events.

“It was all about creating this community,” says LPA Director of Commercial Nick Arambarri. “Irvine Company wanted to activate the outdoor spaces and create a heathier environment for tenants.”

The low-rise office campus is designed for creative, collaborative companies, offering spaces to accommodate growing businesses looking to create their own identities. Buildings can be customized for different customers, large or small. Spaces are flexible, allowing companies to develop their own experiences, including electric roll-up doors opening to private patios and glass walls at ground level.

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All of Innovation Office Park's buildings are designed to meet the AIA's 2030 Commitment.

To enhance the village theme, a central 17,000-square-foot amenities hub offers a curated mix of elements that go far beyond the typical office complex. The list includes a high-end restaurant, on-site catering connected to the conference center, an indoor-outdoor fitness and yoga center and an outdoor common area with games, a lounge, conference spaces with AV capabilities and an event area with kitchen. The café and fitness center have distinct styles, fitting of the campus atmosphere.

“We created a sense of community through the pathline, thinking about it as a city street,” said LPA Design Director Rick D’Amato. “It’s not like a crowded retail strip or mall; it’s more like a grand public space where people can come together and meet.”

The design accommodates both the increased pandemic-era desire for wellness and outdoor space and the urban planner’s vision for a more integrated, active development. The campus fits in to the larger community, providing tenants with connections to a campus bike path, miles of nature trails and shopping and entertainment options at the nearby Irvine Spectrum Center.

The focus on health, wellness, flexibility and nature extends to every aspect of the project. Loft-style ceilings with skylights and energy-efficient Viracon glass allow natural light in while keeping heat out, increasing operating efficiency. Central air handlers with MERV-13 heating and cooling air filtration and economizers deliver 100% fresh outside air every 60 minutes, helping employees feel comfortable and safe in their workplace.

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The pathline serves as a center space for the campus.

Workplaces feature operable awning windows, loft-style ceilings and skylights to maximize energy-efficient daylighting. The long strips of windows installed for ventilation and daylighting can be popped out and replaced with roll-up doors. The systems support health and wellness while allowing tenants to control their engagement and interaction.

“When the pandemic hit, all these things that we knew workers wanted — access to fresh air, indoor-outdoor connections, outdoor circulation — became even more in demand,” Arambarri says.

The development recognizes the specific needs of growing companies, supporting a variety of profiles and sizes, from 2,000 to 64,000 square feet, including the option for flex space. Two companies can create a shared outdoor space between offices, for example, or a single firm can start with one floor and then grow into additional space. A company could adjust walls, doors and circulation paths to create a more open floor plan as it expands, even adding a private patio and having its logo painted on the side of a building.

“A company can start out at 20,000 feet and easily grow to 40,000 feet or expand to a bigger building,” Arambarri says. “That whole notion that you control your own building, your own destiny, is even more important after the pandemic.”

Innovation Office Park also addresses a huge issue facing companies as they plan for the end of the pandemic: Will workers feel comfortable returning to the office? By providing new experiences and supporting a healthy lifestyle, the campus gives employees reasons to return.

“Designers need to create projects that make employees say, ‘I need to be there, and I want to be there,’” D’Amato says. “We saw Innovation Office Park as more than an office building or an office park, as a place that can support companies and their employees for the long run.”

We created a sense of community through the pathline, thinking about it as a city street. It's not like a crowded retail center or mall; it's more like a grand public space where people can come together and meet.

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A BENCHMARK FOR SUSTAINABILITY


As one of the largest commercial landlords in the country, Irvine Company is setting new standards for corporate sustainability.

The company has developed one of the largest portfolios of LEED-certified buildings in the country, including 80 office buildings in California. All of its buildings are designed to meet the Energy Star standards established by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Irvine Company is also rolling out the world’s first fleet of Hybrid Electric Buildings, a collection of 21 buildings that use advanced Tesla energy storage systems, which are helping to reduce peak energy demand by 25%.

The company takes a holistic approach that includes a focus on water conservation, healthy work environments and preservation of open space. Innovative building systems, investment in infrastructure and connections between the workplace and nature are all part of the company’s core philosophy.

Innovation Office Park in Irvine, California, the latest in a 40-year collaboration between LPA and Irvine Company, illustrates many of the holistic strategies. Energy-efficient glazing systems, open space that exceeds city requirements, indoor-outdoor connections, operable windows, roll-up doors that promote natural ventilation and a “do more with less” attitude for interior buildouts make it a better place to work.

“Due to its size and the quality of its projects, Irvine Company sets the benchmark that other developers have to follow,” says LPA Chief Design Officer Keith Hempel. “The company’s commitment over the years has changed how commercial projects are designed and built throughout the region.