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Towering Accomplishment

Oct. 2, 2009

Silicon Valley’s largest green project offers high-class amenities


Jay Paul Moffett Towers, Sunnyvale, CA

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Edging the historic Moffett Field in Sunnyvale, CA, a new office and R&D campus is rising above Silicon Valley. Jay Paul Moffett Towers, the city’s first high-rise and the largest green project in the area, occupies a 52-acre site and will eventually include 1.7 million square feet of state-of-the-art office buildings and amenities.

Now completed, Parcel One of the project includes three 3-story office buildings totaling 950,000 square feet; a 5-level and a 4-level parking garage; new roads and pedestrian and bike pathways connecting to an adjacent VTA light rail station; a 2-story amenities building; and a world-class, 40,000-square-foot fitness center for exclusive use by tenants and employees at Moffett Towers.

Developed by Redwood City, CA-based Rudolph and Sletten, the centerpiece of the corporate campus is the Moffett Towers Club, which serves as a world-class fitness and spa facility, as well as an upscale destination for meetings and gatherings. First-floor amenities in this LEED Gold certified building include a day spa, a café with indoor and outdoor seating, and a game room. Outside, the 25-yard, 7-lane, solar-heated pool accommodates lap swimming as well as therapeutic rehabilitation programs. A gymnasium boasts a full-size court with equipment for basketball and volleyball, and the second-floor fitness center takes the award for popularity. “The amenities building is a huge hit, and the fitness center is the most appealing item,” says Doug Collins, vice president of operations at Rudolph and Sletten. Collins cites brand new equipment and studio classes on all types of workouts as the reasons behind the center’s success.

Project Team (partial list)

Contractor (Award Submitter): Rudolph and Sletten
Owner: Jay Paul Company
Architect: DES Architects + Engineers

During the construction of Parcel One, the developers had to contend with tight schedules and the involved process of adhering to green construction to gain LEED certification. Energy efficiency, water use, indoor environmental quality, materials use, and landscape design were all key elements of the green design of the Moffett Towers. While the completed amenities building received its LEED Gold status in the spring of 2009, the office buildings are currently registered for LEED-CS Silver, and new tenant build-outs with be contractually required to attain LEED-CI Silver.

The owner’s commitment to sustainable building was clear even during demolition; materials were saved, crushed, and then used as base rock for new parking lots. Parcel Three of the Moffett Towers project has reused between 18,000 and 20,000 cubic yards of demolition materials. Almost 92 percent of the construction waste was diverted from landfills through recycling efforts. Water conservation practices include diverting half of all stormwater into landscaping, allowing the plants and soil – instead of the city’s storm drains – to absorb the water. In fact, the project meets the city’s stormwater requirements despite being outside the regulated area.

On the inside, design cues are taking from the natural environment and aviation. A striking point-counterpoint of curves and linear forms is apparent in the light-filled, 2-story lobby of the Moffett Towers Club. Natural forms, such as gingko leaves and reeds, bring a touch of natural tranquility to the interior. The leaf pattern is carried through in the stamped concrete flooring and carpet. The building’s color palette takes advantage of the light in each part of the building according to the building’s orientation. Finishes – like FSC-certified cherry wood, locally fabricated custom-cast concrete, recycled-content ceramic tile, and GREENGUARD-certified furniture – contribute to the LEED Gold rating.

Thorough pre-planning and strong relationships with city authorities made it possible to achieve the impressive sustainability and schedule goals. “Keeping the project on track meant early planning meetings with the city on how the project would be built and how the needs and expectations of both the city and Rudolph and Sletten would be met,” says Collins. “The schedule was very quick, which pushed the city to meet some aggressive timelines for review and inspections. Early planning made this all happen.” Working diligently with the city trimmed the overall schedule, as did the Lean construction method used for the project. The buildings are constructed of structural steel with Spanish limestone, Italian granite, and glass skin. To save time and money, the skin system’s metal panels were fabricated at the subcontractor’s yard on a truss frame.

The fast-tracked schedule was tightened further when the owner requested an earlier-than-planned availability for a potential tenant. To achieve this change, the parking structure had to be completed, which forced the management team to rethink the building process for the garage. Since elevator construction was contingent upon the completion of the middle of the garage, the team decided to build the entire right and middle sections of the structure first, which allowed the elevator subcontractor to begin work as the rest of the parking structure was being finished. Flexibility when challenges arise is a mark of a successful building team. Collins’ best advice for teams undertaking new construction or renovation is, “Take the time to plan a job and work in a team atmosphere. In the end, the project will be completed sooner and cheaper.” The successful completion of Parcel One at Moffett Towers, and the progress made on the remainder of the project, is a testament to that advice.

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