1/3/2002 West Hills Corporate Village Bldg. D

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West Hills Corporate Village Building D

Built on the sit of a Hughes Aircraft facility, the new four-story West Hills Corporate Village Building D is part of a long-term project to convert a complex formerly owned and occupied by a single corporation into a multitenant campus.

The goal of the larger project was to meet the needs of more entrepreneurial technology-intensive clients. Previously unused space was recaptured to create more efficient floor plates and new lobbies. The pre-leasing, leasing and build-to-suit efforts exceeded the expectations of the owner, Shamrock Holdings of California, Inc., with Building D leased solely to Sterling Software Corporation.

AC Martin Partners, Inc., the architect for Building D, designed the complete build out of Sterling's high-end interior shell. The firm was also the architect for the renovation of three other buildings on the campus, and was the original architect and engineer for the complex in 1958.

When Sterling became the tenant midway through construction, quite a bit of change to the inside of the facility became necessary. When all was said and done, however, those involved were happy with the finished product.

Michael McCormick, president of McCormick Construction Company, the design/build contractor for the project, said the tenant improvements were all high-end. "These were all hard-built private offices, employee lounges, kitchens, coffee rooms and a full auditorium with an orchestra pit area." The seating in the auditorium had to accommodate 200 people in order to serve as a lecture hall for corporate meetings. "The auditorium is a good-size auditorium," he added. "You don't normally walk into a commercial office building and find an auditorium that's this significant."

Design materials and concepts were selected based on economy, seismic stability, aesthetics and ease of construction, according to Carey McLeod, RA, formerly principal in charge for AC Martin Partners. "We used a system called Flexi-Rock, which is an acrylic stucco or plaster over a plasterboard. It gives a very handsome flat wall and is more economical than conventional plaster to erect." The building has a steel moment frame, high-performance glass curtain wall and flexible exterior closure.

"The approach to the design was to use the massing of the building to diminish the apparent size of it," McLeod said. "We held the materials in the solid parts of the building away from each other and tied them together with glass curtain wall sections in order to further articulate the mass and break it down.

"Otherwise, for the plaster portions of the skin, we used common-size window openings. It is just a simple, straightforward aluminum window system that is very economical. The articulation of the skin was basically through reveals, and it is easy to put reveals or lines in the Flexi-Rock system to break up the surface of the materials, giving detail and interest to the building."

McCormick said he is proud of how quickly his team was able to construct the building. "It was impressive," he said. "It was amazing how quickly we put it up. Because we had design/build control, it streamlined coordination so we were able to move the job along much faster."

According to McLeod, the aggressive schedule posed the project's greatest challenge, however. "The building went from concept to design to occupancy in just 10 months. That's a very tight schedule. A collaborative relationship with the general contractor was established to keep the schedule moving."

Staying within budget was also a challenge, he added. "We sought to create a warm and enduring environment despite budget constraints. To accomplish this we found a building skin system that provided both an interesting aesthetic and energy efficiency. In the near future we will see greater demand for new technologies and sustainability because the cost of energy is going up so dramatically. Bringing down ongoing energy expenses may become as important as the first cost of construction."

"The developer [Regent Properties, Inc.] had specific goals in mind," McCormick said. "[The firm] had a pricing and scheduling target and a lease with which it had to comply, and it was relying on us. As far as pricing goes, we had no change orders on the project. The challenge was to coordinate all the systems so there were no holes on any of them or between the trades. In the end, we had a very happy client."

McCormick said the good relationships among everyone involved in the construction team went a long way toward facilitating the on-time completion of the building. "We have a very good relationship with AC Martin Partners, and we were all very helpful to each other, I think. If we had any issue, the project was moving so fast that we had to put our heads together to figure out how to get the problem solved as soon as possible."

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