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Office & Mixed-Use

Office Building, Plainsboro, N.J.

The pharmaceutical company began to search for a new headquarters in 2008 when the site of the old Merill Lynch building in Plainsboro became available. Constructed in the 1980s, the 770,000-square-foot building boasts a 200-acre, park-like setting in a strategic location just minutes from Princeton University and equidistant from New York City and Philadelphia. Architectural firm, Granum A/I was commissioned to modernize the outdated building. Designed to meet LEED Silver certification, Granum sought a Danishaesthetic emphasizing natural light, clear colors and functional architecture.

The building design features Alcoa Architectural Products' Reynobond aluminum composite material (ACM). "The original structure had darkly tinted glass alternating with heavy horizontal bands of concrete," says Patrick McGranaghan, AIA, LEED AP, design principal for Granum A/I. "In that rigor, it was boring. We chose to create interest by playing with the geometry of the building: using glass as the primary material on the façade and using metal more compositionally to give the building more character, emphasizing the diversity in the architectural forms that define the exterior of the building. The material selected for the façade had to be lightweight and extremely durable so it could be mounted to the new curtainwall modules. We used ACM because it meets the technical performance criteria and has a wonderful surface quality."

BAMCO Inc. fabricated 208,000 square feet of 4-mm Reynobond ACM with a PE core with a Design Line Colorweld DL Zinc Patina finish for the building's façade. Alcoa also supplied 61,347 square feet of 4-mm Reynobond ACM with a PE core with an Anodic Clear Colorweld 500 paint finish for the window bump outs; and 13,967 square feet of 4-mm Reynobond ACM, PE core with a Toyota Silver Duragloss paint finish for the large portal. The majority of the panels were installed in BAMCO's G-500 system.

Full-height glass and aluminum curtainwalls were used to define the new two-story lobby and adjacent stairwells. After considering how to combine desirable aesthetics, proven performance and available design options, the architect specified Kawneer Co. Inc.'s 1600 Wall System 2 with 10 1/2-deep vertical structural silicone glazed (SSG) mullions at the lobby; the four-side captured 1600 Wall System 1 curtainwall with 10 1/2-deep mullions for the stair tower; and 6-inch-deep mullions for the vestibule area. To add the required strength for the larger spans, structural steel reinforcing was used as well as custom steel anchors to tie the curtainwall systems to the building's structure. The interior components were painted in a custom white paint and the exterior components in a custom silver paint. Kawneer's 350 Medium Stile Entrances were outfitted with custom hardware options and installed in the curtainwall to provide durable and aesthetically pleasing entrances for the building. The $215 million redevelopment and construction were completed in April 2013. The building is a 1/4-mile long with a series of office pods intersecting the central circulation spine. Amenities include an executive suite; a rooftop terrace; recreational facilities; a 500-seat, full-service cafeteria; parking for 2,210 cars; and access to public transportation.

Construction manager: Structure Tone, Woodbridge, N.J.

Architect: Granum A/I, Radnor, Pa.

Architect of Record: HOK, St. Louis

Glass fabricator: Paul Rabinowitz Glass Co. Inc., Philadelphia

Metal fabricator: BAMCO Inc., Middlesex, N.J., www.gobamco.com

Curtainwalls: Kawneer Co. Inc., Norcross, Ga., www.kawneer.com

Metal wall panels: Alcoa Architectural Products, Eastman, Ga., www.alcoaarchitecturalproducts.com