When Bayer decided to consolidate four locations into a single headquarters, they selected a 95-acre location in Whippany, New Jersey. The facility easily accommodates the three divisions of Bayer Healthcare being co-located and offers Bayer the opportunity to embody a single brand expression. The overarching goal for Bayer’s new headquarters is to foster community by shaping a common culture while promoting wellness throughout. The new site will for the first time house the Global Headquarters for the Medical and Consumer Care businesses as well as the U.S. Headquarters for the Pharmaceutical divisions.
The new facility provided Bayer the opportunity to improve productivity by moving from an office intensive environment to a 100% open plan workplace. The design removes wall barriers to help balance team and individual work and includes a variety of settings to support focus, collaboration, socialization and learning work modes. Height adjustable desks were chosen to give employees the ability to stand while working and to help mitigate the health risks of sitting all day. Meeting pavilions were introduced to help create neighborhoods of workstations and to provide convenient locations for huddle rooms, open and enclosed meeting spaces as well as copy, supply and print services. These pavilions are distributed across the floor plan and offer visual interaction and gathering spaces that engage employees, promote innovation and build relationships.
With the focus to foster an environment that supports wellbeing in the workplace, Gensler created walking trails for the horizontal circulations paths, designed to meander through the workplace. These unique paths also create variations in neighborhoods, helping with way finding through floor plates that would otherwise look repetitious. Existing core stairwells were activated with graphics and upgraded finishes to encourage physical activity between the floors. Each stairwell offers a different scientific graphic illustrating patterns such as compounds, photosynthesis and DNA . These patterns are subtly repeated in community spaces as a the café entry wall covering, within movable booths in the dining area, and as a light pattern on the wood stair wall connecting the auditorium and dining spaces.
The headquarters also includes amenities that promote Well-Being in the workplace. The 600-seat cafeteria offers healthy choice options while the outdoor dining area allows employees to get some fresh air and sunlight on their lunch break. The Grab ‘n Go, centralized in the building, provides healthy snacks, coffee and smoothies along with additional informal dining and lounge areas. A medical and mother’s suite, a fitness center and outdoor walking trails as well as a company store support the health and wellness theme. Additional amenities on the campus comprise of a credit union, sales training center and a 430-seat auditorium.
The site in Whippany has helped to revitalize the community by transforming an abandoned office park to a Class A headquarters building. Gensler designed a five-story glass atrium to provide an inspiring visitor reception, connect the two existing buildings and allow direct access between departments and amenities. The five-story feature stair within the atrium space provides a connection to large meeting rooms and promotes walkability, while visibly communicating the project concept: A Passage to Wellness.