The Tower Companies Project
OfficeMax Workplace℠ Interiors and architectural firm design for productivity, health and an environment that feels like home.
Location: Rockville, Md.
Space: 22,000 sq. ft.
Open workspace seating: 25
Architectural design firm: Kishimoto.Gordon.Dalaya PC
The Tower Companies, based in Rockville, Md., is a real estate development company that focuses on socially responsible and environmentally sustainable design. Its buildings are eco-progressive spaces that reduce operating expenses, while increasing employee retention, health, productivity and satisfaction.
The Tower Companies developed the first apartment complex in the country to be certified by U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) — Blair Towns in Silver Spring, Md. When ready to build a new building, 2000 Tower Oaks in Rockville, The Tower Companies set a goal for another milestone: to have the first office building in Maryland to receive LEED Platinum status, the highest level of sustainability in the LEED rating system. It also had the opportunity to achieve the unique distinction of double-Platinum by applying green design to its corporate office headquarters space inside.
Kishimoto.Gordon.Dalaya PC, an architectural, interiors and planning firm based in Washington, D.C., designed the base building by following the principles of Maharishi Vedic Architecture. The ancient system that constructs a building in accordance with the laws of nature includes principles focused on orientation, placement and proportion of the building to improve occupant health and enhance job performance and success.
“Visitors are very impressed by the space; by the materials that went into the construction; by the colors. They walk into the open area and are wowed by how peaceful it is. They see this big open area and are sort of surprised they are still able to see outside.”
Chuck Wallach, The Tower Companies
Chuck Wallach, director of leasing and tenant construction, and Ellen M. Lederle, LEED AP and project manager, both of The Tower Companies, relied on Teknion and OfficeMax Workplace Interiors as important members of the project team for the buildout of the interior office space. OfficeMax Workplace Interiors provided project management and design support to help the team discover solutions that would achieve both the LEED Platinum certification and the aesthetic The Tower Companies desired.
“We were looking for clean, sophisticated straight lines — modern but timeless. Something that would not look out of date in five years,” Wallach says. “But, we did not want people to come in and feel intimidated by a big corporate real estate office. We wanted people to feel like they were coming into our home to do business in our living room.”
OfficeMax Workplace Interiors was key in identifying products that would reduce indoor air pollutants and negative impacts on the environment. It recommended the District line and Contessa task chair to bring the design vision alive and advance the health and sustainable goals of the interior space. These furniture selections also helped The Tower Companies meet the LEED credit for products that are extracted, processed and manufactured within a 500-mile radius.
District was used throughout the office’s open-concept work area, as its emphasis on lower, more transparent workstations gives every Tower employee a seated view of outside and responds to LEED requirements for light and view.
The Contessa task chair by Teknion, which contains 85 percent recyclable materials and is GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified®, assists in LEED credits for indoor environmental quality.
OfficeMax Workplace Interiors worked with the project team to ensure furniture permits and inspections were completed quickly and on-time for The Tower Companies to gain occupancy and complete the LEED application.
In addition to furniture, The Tower Companies embraced the use of green and rapidly renewable building materials throughout its corporate office space. All paints, adhesives and sealants are low or no VOC; carpets contain recycled content; fabrics and wall coverings include highly recycled content or agri-products and the majority of wood used for millwork is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
With 2000 Tower Oaks, The Tower Companies met its goal of developing the first LEED Platinum-certified commercial office building in Maryland, which has been lauded the healthiest building ever built. It also received Platinum certification for its new corporate office, which met the design vision of the welcoming comfort people feel when visiting someone’s home.