Chicago, Illinois, United States
Designed to serve as the world headquarters of the growing Pepsi-Cola corporation, the structure consists of a pristine glass-and-aluminum volume with massive, 9-by-15-foot window panes set against a dark granite service core that visually separates the building offices from its adjacent neighbors. The result is a technical tour de force and a powerful symbol of the client’s transformation into a leading global brand.
Located on a corner lot fronting Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, the building stands just 11 stories tall in a neighborhood famed for its skyscrapers. Nonetheless, its radical transparency and simplicity have made it an enduring icon and earned it a place in the canon of modern architecture.
Exemplifying International Style principles, the building plan maximizes flexibility and spatially defines differing internal programs. The minimalist interiors, executed in quality materials and featuring flexible, reconfigurable floor plates and stone-clad public spaces, signaled to employees the company’s emphasis on modernizing its image and embracing new efficiencies. The glass curtain wall and a custom fluorescent lighting system flood the offices with light throughout the day.
At ground level, the glass walls of the lobby are set back from the upper structure, creating space for a landscaped terrace that forms a bridge between the busy sidewalk and the calm environment within. Above, the offices are spacious and unobstructed except for the main columns which define the facade. The structure consists of steel columns (with concrete fireproofing) and reinforced concrete slabs. The curtain wall’s spandrels and mullions are made of aluminum.