What was the impetus to pursue LEED Gold?
HSBC has a company policy to reduce their carbon footprint. Usually, the most difficult part is getting the client on board with green design, but HSBC already wanted to build a building that was good for the planet and their employees.
Good for their employees how?
We started by looking at glazing specifications to improve the amount of daylight. Then we speced low-partition furniture systems to achieve as much light penetration as possible. Limiting the amount of closed office spaces also allowed for better light and air quality. There are only nine closed offices in a building that houses nearly 2,000 employees.
How did the open-space planning help with LEED points?
LEED merely pushed our plans further. For example, we like to isolate printers, fax machines, and copiers. With LEED, we had to install a separate exhaust for those machines, so we created a utility oasis with copying, etc., and added a vending/coffee area.
What was the biggest challenge with the project?
The building wasn't our design—we came in midconstruction. The developer hired us to improve the building. That's when HSBC became interested. They hired us to do the interiors and get the building qualified for LEED. None of us had participated on a LEED project before, so that was a big learning curve.
Project: HSBC Mexico Headquarters, Mexico City Architect: HOK (Mexico City office)—Javier Presas (project architect) Cost: $150 million Size: 400,000 s.f.