Construction is underway on a 96,000-sq.-ft. headquarters for the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLBank) in Topeka, Kansas.
HOK teamed with Schwerdt Design Group on the design of the headquarters, which will accommodate approximately 220 employees and is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification.
“The design communicates the enduring strength and stability of FHLBank, which has been in Topeka since the system of federal home loan banks was created in 1932,” said Eli Hoisington, AIA, LEED AP, HOK’s design principal in St. Louis. “The timeless architecture is balanced by the need to create a progressive work environment that establishes new operational efficiencies. The visual appeal and employee amenities support the bank’s continued growth by attracting the best, brightest people.”
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 local limestone from Onaga, Kansas, 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 includes a monumental stairway and acts as a focal point and hub for employees. A channel glass wall with a color frit provides beautiful detailing along with abundant daylight.
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 areas 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 help spur more 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 strategies include the use of a closed-loop, geothermal ground-coupled heat exchanger as the building’s heat source, 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-sq.-ft., 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 encourage 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. 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 by December 2017.