The 140,000-square-foot office and research complex of Acorda Therapeutics, a fast growing biotech, includes the renovation of four, stand-alone buildings on a 20-acre campus in Westchester County. BAM’s mandate, from both the tenant and the landlord, BioMed Realty Trust Inc. (BMR), was to re-envision the 1960’s campus along Sawmill River Road in Ardsley as an interconnected group of buildings, including a connector building that links two existing structures and serves as a year-round meeting and gathering space.
The new connector building is an integral part of the project, since it unifies the other campus elements. The connector includes a café that opens onto a pedestrian “Main Street” with landscaping, seating and lighting, a flexible event space on the third floor that opens to the café below, and a loading dock. Although the connector has its own distinctive presence, BAM ensured that materials used elsewhere on the project were represented there too, thus visually linking the old and new portions of the campus.
Perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of the project is its abundant use of natural light, which was increased by enlarging clerestory windows on the first floor of the connector building. To achieve this, the existing landscape was re-graded and the foundation wall was cut back to allow for the installation of these large windows at waist height. BAM also brightened the interiors by using Acorda’s own vibrant color palette for the flooring and walls throughout the four buildings.
In addition to creating a welcoming and user-friendly environment indoors, BAM created an equally appealing environment outdoors by creating an outdoor room and park for use during the warmer weather, handicap accessible ramps and awnings.
Although this is not a LEED-certified project, BAM used green materials whenever possible, including pervious sidewalk pavers, low-VOC paints, and aluminum cladding and storefronts.
The tight budget and speed of the project schedule were both great challenges, but BAM worked with the client, contractor and landlord to ensure the project moved forward smoothly. Feedback was provided during construction in hours, rather than days and weeks, so that Acorda’s occupancy deadline could be met…and it was.
Acorda’s headquarters is an excellent example of how creative vision can transform a tired corporate campus into an inspiring, yet functional workspace that reflects the occupant’s forward-thinking culture. The landlord, BioMed Realty Trust, a leader in the development of top R&D space in Westchester and elsewhere (they are Regeneron’s landlord in Westchester, too), also is a great example of a developer who recognizes that refreshing old corporate campuses and tailoring them to today’s R&D/pharma tenants is a smart investment.