Proj Overview

Project Overview

When Gordon Food Service (GFS) decided to build a new corporate headquarters on its 50-acre (202,000 meters squared), Wyoming, Mich., campus, they wanted the building to reflect the company’s culture and values, which include conserving resources for the future, and investing in the local community. To embody those goals, they chose a precast concrete design that used locally mined and manufactured precast concrete pieces, which delivered sustainable attributes while creating an elegant, maintenance-free, cost-effective structure, says Scott Vyn, of Integrated Architecture.

“While several factors contributed to the choice of precast for the building’s structural system, the two most prominent performance attributes of precast concrete highlighted on the project are speed of construction and durability,” he says. “The overall precast concrete structural system reduced the construction period significantly, while the durability of the concrete allowed for interior columns, ceilings, and the building’s exterior to remain exposed.” The natural fire rating of precast concrete also supported the creation of simple, clean ceiling lines.

Precast Solution

The new facility consists of three main areas that include test kitchens, meeting spaces, and offices that are all linked by a light-filled connector zone; this zone features a curved-glass curtain wall to transition between the spaces. The building structure, floors, and exterior walls are all made of precast concrete.

Early on, designers decided to use a raised floor hollow-core precast concrete system, which added several performance and economic benefits to the project. “The precast concrete floor system was a perfect fit for this approach as it proved to be the lowest first-cost solution with the fastest construction time,” Vyn says. In addition to acting as the structural system for the floor, the underside of the precast concrete panels provided a paintable finished ceiling. That meant the need for a typical layer of cast-in-place concrete to create the finished floor level was eliminated as the raised platform sits directly on the panels. Vyn’s team estimates that this decision alone saved roughly $1 million and weeks of construction.

Using precast concrete for the new headquarters also provided aesthetic versatility for both the exterior and interior of the building, he says. The exterior’s architectural precast concrete cladding, combined with the glass and metal curtain wall, helped provide the rich, modern and timeless appearance. In addition, the use of long clear spans helped open up the office area; as a result, it provided the owner with virtually limitless options for office configuration, Vyn says. “The great thing about this project, in addition to the staff at GFS, is the timeless longevity that I am confident this building will enjoy.”


2015 Design AwardsDesign Award Special Award: All Precast Concrete Solution Award
Project Team


Gordon Food Service, Wyoming, Mich. 

Architect and Engineer of Record

Integrated Architecture, Grand Rapids, Mich. 

Structural Engineer

JDH Engineering, Grandville, Mich. 

Civil Engineer

Exxel Engineering, Grand Rapids, Mich. 


Dan Vos Construction Co. Inc., Ada, Mich. 


Kerkstra Precast, Grandville, Mich.
Gate Precast, Winchester, Ky. 

Precast Specialty Engineer

Ericksen Roed 

Photo Credit

Justin Maconochie Photography

Key Project Attributes

  • By using a raised, hollow-core precast concrete floor system, the need for topping was eliminated saving the project close to $1 million and weeks of construction.
  • Many interior precast concrete elements were left exposed, including the bottom side of hollow-core floor plank and columns throughout the building to provide a modern aesthetic feel.
  • The inherent fire resistance of precast concrete eliminated the need for additional fireproofing while increasing the safety of occupants.

Project/Precast Scope

  • Total precast concrete solution for this 381,000 square feet (35,400 meters squared) building, including building structure, floors, and exterior walls.
  • The structural elements were all fabricated locally, adding to the sustainability of the project and reducing generation of waste on site.
  • Precast concrete elevator shafts and stairwells provide lateral stability while reducing the time and cost of construction.
  • Cost of Precast: $5.9 million