The National Football League’s new seven-story West Coast headquarters celebrate the beauty, durability, and high-performance features that a precast concrete facade brings to a project. The new structure, which houses the NFL and several national media tenants, is located in a preeminent sports and entertainment district on a 300-acre planned development in Southern California. It features an office tower, a broadcast studio, and a standalone parking structure.
From the very beginning, designers chose glass-fiber-reinforced concrete (GFRC) as the primary finishing system for the building’s exterior envelope. They knew that a high-performance GFRC facade would be responsive to the climate and the immediate environmental conditions of the site, and the owner appreciated the speed and quality associated with prefabrication. “This approach allowed us to meet to the owner’s extremely ambitious schedule and budget,” says Wyatt Frantom, design director for Gensler.
The design is a singular massing composed of a lightweight, white GFRC envelope “visually levitating” over a concrete plinth below.
Gensler worked closely with the precaster to achieve the desired vision, energy efficiency, and rigid timeline. “It was a great example of collaborating with the architectural design team in a design-build relationship,” says Roland Byers, business development leader for Willis Construction Company.
Window-to-Wall Ratio Exceeds Energy Requirements
The facade features two curving elements with solar screening fins that optimize daylight access while minimizing heat. The highly repetitive design reinforces the monolithic character of the massing and provides a consistent user experience at the interior. The panels were also standardized with uniform sizing based on the building module with any customization minimized to optimize fabrication efficiency.
Within the monolithic envelope, modular 13-ft by 6 in. panels span from floor to floor and column to column, maximizing surface area based on truck delivery dimensions. Where adjoined at the floor lines, the depth of the panels create a horizontal projection that mitigates higher sun angles, while the vertical solar-screening fins provide shade from the lower sun angles, reducing solar gains for enhanced building performance and better user comfort.
The 50% cumulative window-to-wall ratio of the GFRC allows the building performance to exceed California’s stringent Title 24 energy requirements by a margin of 3.4%. “The facade not only meets the client’s aspirational goals for sustainability but also outperformed the demanding jurisdictional energy requirements.”
The designers collaborated with the precaster on refining the panel shape and design to maximize aesthetic options and eliminate rework throughout the project. For example, during the design phase, the architects decided they didn’t want panel joints at the corners of the building. Therefore, Willis designed the corners to be separate V-shaped pieces attached to the main wall panel in the plant. “They were delivered and erected as a single piece,” Byers says.
Employing the highly efficient GFRC design allowed the general contractor to greatly accelerate on-site construction, and the result was a beautiful, durable facade design that could be delivered on time. “Through economy of scale and repetition, the GFRC system resulted in a unique design while optimizing fabrication efficiency,” Frantom says.