Architecture firm HOK has designed Porsche Cars North America’s new headquarters in Atlanta. They tell us that "The nearly 200,000-square-foot complex will accommodate up to 400 employees under one roof on a high-profile, 26-acre Aerotropolis site near the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport." Like so much of HOK's work, it will be very green:
Reflecting Porsche's commitment to the environment, HOK is designing a highly sustainable building and targeting a minimum of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. Energy conservation measures include fine-tuning the building orientation and creating a highly efficient building envelope. The team will explore opportunities for natural ventilation and on-site energy generation and green roofs that reduce the heat island effect and filter rainwater before it returns to Atlanta's water system.
“Our design goal was to capture the essence of the Porsche brand and performance,” said Todd Bertsch, director of design at HOK in Atlanta. “We have designed a movement-filled building with the same high-energy feel and performance as Porsche automobiles. By integrating the track into the lower levels of the office building and weaving in subtle motorsport-related cues, we can immerse employees, dealers and customers in the Porsche experience.”
For those who have not heard the term before, an Aerotropolis, according to John Kasarda, is " a combination of giant airport, planned city, shipping facility, and business hub...."
Soon the airport will be at the center and the city will be built around it, the better to keep workers, suppliers, executives, and goods in touch with the global market.
In Atlanta, a former 122 acre Ford plant next to the airport is being converted to an Aerotropolis that will include " a 6.5 million-square-foot mixed-use redevelopment with 1.6 million square feet of retail and 2.2 million square feet for a hotel and conference center." Porsche is an early tenant.
According to the Atlanta Journal, the building will have a test track and a restaurant. The Journal also notes that the move has other implications:
The move is a surprise in other logistical ways. Porsche will be leaving the Central Perimeter business district that has several MARTA rail stops and is close to neighborhoods favored for housing and schools by executives. The former Ford plant site, which was closed in 2006, currently is not served by a direct MARTA rail stop.
I happen to be a big Porsche fan, and still shed a tear for my beloved 1972 914 that I drove for a decade. I am a big admirer of HOK. I have raised these concerns before, and took a lot of criticism for calling Norman Foster's LEED certified spaceport an oxymoronic contradiction in terms. I know Porsche America executives are not going to take the MARTA to work.
But we are talking about a concept where people fly into an aerotropolis to zip around a test track in a high powered sports car, but hey, it is LEED silver and has a green roof, so it is green.
I think use, and location, matter. At least they should be on the table when we are discussing green building.