“Modern. Technologically advanced. Collaborative. Healthy. These are all words we’ve used to describe the building.” –Andrew Dykeman, Project Executive, Lease Crutcher Lewis
SAIF’s existing Salem campus included multiple seismically-dated buildings reminiscent of the modernist style of the 1960s and ‘70s. Inside, poor workstation layout, inefficient shared spaces, low levels of daylight, and a lack of connectivity between the buildings inhibited interaction and collaboration. With heavy exterior pre-cast concrete panels, outdated mechanical and electrical systems, and deep floor plates, the buildings desperately needed an upgrade to embody SAIF’s mission and goals. Our design included stripping back the existing building to only its structure, demolishing one entire wing and creating a cohesive a new building on their campus to make room for their growing multi-generational workforce.
While the building's existing structures was solid, we needed to demolish the exterior concrete walls to get to its bones. Since the building was over 40 years old, our biggest design challenge was blending the new with the old. Slab edges were varied, and we had to remove asbestos. Throughout the entire process, we used modern technology like 3D laser scans and ground-penetrating radar to assess the true condition of the building.
SAIF cared about designing a collaborative work environment that simultaneously provides privacy, so they needed more space between floors and improved connections between floors and departments. To do so, we strategically cut holes in the existing structure to create double-height collaboration spaces and used data-informed design. strategies. Outside, we designed a green backyard area to provide a comfortable outdoor escape centered around their two-hundred-year-old heritage oak tree that the collaboration spaces opened into. One of our most important goals was giving SAIF employees a new, welcoming entryway. Previously, hundreds of employees daily would funnel through the confined employee entrance—right next to the trash compactor.
By observing how people actually used the building, we designed a more spacious, comfortable path to the building and two separate entrances, one for employees adjacent to parking, and another for visitors. Wood brings elements down to human scale and reflects our intent to connect with nature. Metal cladding contrasts with wood that create interesting textures to create an exterior that would last more than 50 years.
Sustainability and building for the future are critical to SAIF’s mission. Given that SAIF is located next to Pringle Creek, on a 100-year floodplain in a city prone to flooding events, so our design infilled the basement floor. This allowed the design team to “raise” the building foundation by four feet, twice the height required by FEMA.
Designed as LEED Gold equivalent, the 50+ year building features hydronic radiant heating and cooling systems, water conservation systems, high-performance enclosures, energy-efficient kitchen equipment and elevators, low-flow fixtures, and advanced lighting controls. SAIF’s new campus is projected to achieve 40% less energy use than a code-equivalent building.