Construction is underway on a new 96,000–square-foot headquarters for the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLBank) in Topeka, Kansas.
HOK teamed with Schwerdt Design Group on the design of the $30 million headquarters, which will accommodate approximately 220 employees and is expected to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.
HOK’s design connects the building, which is located on a prominent hilltop overlooking Topeka, to its natural surroundings and the region’s history. Clad in native Onaga, Kansas, limestone, the building features a protective overhanging roof and large windows that offer panoramic views of the city and landscape. A polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) fabric canopy shelters people walking from the 265-space parking lot to the main entrance.
A three-story interior atrium features a monumental stairway and acts as a focal point and hub for employees. A channel glass wall with a color frit provides daylighting, energy conservation and a beautiful aesthetic.
The open office plan features low workstation panels that run parallel to the perimeter glass. This improves sightlines and draws natural light deep into the space. Higher panels perpendicular to the perimeter glass create private seats and facilitate heads-down work. Casual work spaces are at the east and west ends. Huddle and focus rooms accommodate private discussions and phone calls. Locating private offices on opposite ends of the rectangular building maximizes the penetration of natural light. Strategically placed coffee zones and planned intersections facilitate spontaneous interaction and collaboration.
The design for the anticipated LEED Gold certified building is expected to reduce its energy use by 65 percent compared to a conventional design. Sustainable design strategies include use of a closed-loop, geothermal ground-coupled heat exchanger as the building’s heat source and heat sink, a highly efficient variable refrigerant flow, and a dedicated outdoor air system with heat recovery. Eight electric vehicle charging stations have premium parking locations.
Reflecting FHLBank’s commitment to employee wellness, the building includes a 3,400-square-foot lower-level activity center. There are several outdoor terraces and walking trails are located across the 20-acre landscaped site. Positioning the atrium stairway as a focal point on each floor encourages employees to use the stairs rather than the elevators, which are screened by a translucent channel glass feature wall. Each workstation has sit-to-stand desks that support movement and healthy ergonomics. Bicycle racks support employees who ride to work.
FHLBank employees will also enjoy a warm, inviting café surrounded by windows and a variety of seating options to accommodate the many uses of the space. A limited menu of hot and cold items and an open market will provide nutritious choices for breakfast and lunch.
HOK is providing integrated architectural, workplace consulting, interior design, site master planning, landscape architecture and lighting design services. Schwerdt Design Group is the architect of record, and the general contractor is Topeka-based McPherson Contractors, Inc. Construction is expected to be complete in December 2017.