The Henkel Headquarters building in Scottsdale, Ariz., brings site-sensitive architecture to the edge of the Sonoran Desert. The flagship project in an as-yet-incomplete, mixed-use development is under consideration for LEED Silver certification.
The façade facing the neighboring State Route 101 is a 200-foot-long ribbon of fritted glass and aluminum mullions. Used as sunshading, the custom frit patterns are carefully positioned along the façade to limit heat gain while maximizing the penetration of daylight into the space.
On the other side of the building, the sleek glass panels give way to gray Mexican plaster, terra-cotta, and corrugated metal. Intended to be the face of the headquarters from within the One Scottsdale development, the building is carefully massed to be broken up and less imposing in scale. For now, that massing harmonizes with the native plant species that dominate the rest of the site.
The glass façade extends past the northwest corner of the building, supported by a prefinished aluminum curtain wall system and supports welded to horizontal pipe and tube steel. Mullion caps extend from the top and bottom of the glass surface, creating texture that breaks up the smooth surface.
An expansive roof garden on the third floor—designed by Christy Ten Eyck of Ten Eyck Landscape Architects—provides outdoor space for employees to eat, have meetings, and stage events. A door connects this exterior space to the mezzanine in the cafetorium, and windows look down into that double-height space.
Employees enter the building from a side entrance that also leads to three levels of below-grade parking. So as not to minimize the entry experience for those commuters, careful attention was paid to landscaping the site with native plant species and using light and graphics in the underground parking area to create a meaningful arrival experience.
A dip in the façade hidden beneath the monumental glass curtain wall holds a porte-cochere where visitors approach and enter the building out of the sun. Fairly quiet materials such as metal panels, fritted glass, and brick are offset by a brightly colored fiberglass-wrapped column and neon signs that showcase the different consumer brands that fall under the Henkel umbrella.
The cafetorium is a mixed-use space in the building, serving as both a staff cafeteria and an auditorium where all of the employees can gather for meetings and events. A canted ceiling plane starts low at the windows and moves higher to accommodate a mezzanine that increases the capacity of the space.
At the center of the building is an 82-foot-high atrium capped with an inflatable membrane skylight that has screen-printed translucent patterning to diffuse the harsh light of the desert sun. Windows into the surrounding offices and laboratories bring daylight into the middle of the floor plates, and an open staircase with large landings allows for both a central circulation point and a spot for spontaneous conversations.