From ergonomic workstations to low-VOC paint, the features of the new Red Hat headquarters are designed to keep associates happy and productive. When the a multinational software company decided it needed to consolidate 950 of its associates into one building in Raleigh, North Carolina, in order to support future growth, it did what it has done for almost every other decision: take a survey.
Associates polled said they were seeking a vibrant downtown setting with a campus-like environment, and that’s what they got. The headquarters—located at the corner of Davie and Wilmington streets—is a vast improvement on the company’s former home in an office park far from the city center.
The main design requirement, says Matt Moon, manager of global real estate development and sustainability for Red Hat, was an open office that facilitated collaboration. “We don’t manufacture physical products, our product is Web-based, so we rely on interaction where the best idea wins,” he says. Private offices make up less than five percent of the office space, and most employees work in low-walled cubicles arranged in an open floor plan.
Also important was sustainability. “Our corporate policy is to make all of our buildings as sustainable as practical,” Moon says. “Whether we seek LEED certification depends on the size and complexity of the project. This project being 365,000 square feet and our global headquarters, we decided to pursue LEED Gold.”
Red Hat hired CBRE, a global leader in commercial real estate, and other leading architecture and engineering firms, including Arlington, Virginia-based TMR Engineering. The project includes an advanced energy management system that tracks energy trends and offers metering data by floor or end-use, which provides what TMR’s Lee Harrelson describes as a “high-resolution picture of how energy is used in the building.”
The end result is a 21st-century office space tailored to those who will use it. “I love how Red Hat made a commitment to designing a space around its associates,” says Laci Wilkes, a sustainability program manager for CBRE. “The entire team worked together to make the new headquarters a fun, healthy, and sustainably focused place to work.”