Energy Giant Shows Off Massive 385-Acre Facility Where Employees Will Start Phased Transition Into One of North America's Largest Development Projects
Construction is moving forward on the company’s sprawling new Springwoods Village campus at Interstate 45 and the Hardy Toll Road in North Houston
In an employee newsletter, Exxon recently provided details about the development 25 miles north of downtown Houston, one of the largest commercial construction projects under way in North America.
The facility, first reported by CoStar in mid-2011, will accommodate up to 10,000 employees from ExxonMobil’s upstream, downstream, chemicals, research and support organizations, which are now based in separate offices in Houston, Fairfax, VA, and other locations.
The company said two years ago it was studying whether any other U.S. office locations will ultimately be located in the complex. The statement prompted speculation that ExxonMobil might close or scale back other facilities around the country, including offices in Fairfax, which employs 2,600 workers.
Workers will begin moving to the campus early next year, with all construction completed and full occupancy slated for mid-2015. The campus will include about 20 office and specialty buildings designed around a central three-acre commons, modeled after great public squares found in Europe and the U.S., intersected by outdoor walkways and smaller courtyards landscaped with a variety of trees and native plants.
The design team researched, visited and studied more than 100 corporate and academic institutions in the planning of the project and its buildings, the company said. The office building
design will promote formal and informal collaboration, and have a connection to daylight and nature, ready access to technologies, flexible work spaces and a variety of life-friendly amenities.
"From the start, the campus was designed and is being built for the people who are going to use it," says Bryan Milton, president of ExxonMobil Global Services Company. "The offices, common areas, meeting places and amenities will significantly improve opportunities for collegiality and collaboration across organizations."
During a typical day, ExxonMobil has about 3,000 workers, 16 tower cranes and hundreds of pieces of mobile construction equipment on site, noted Jim Hennessy, project executive for the Houston campus.
A major design priority is to provide abundant green space. For example, 80% of the campus will either remain in its natural state or be landscaped with transplanted trees, lawns and other plantings. Sustainable practices have been incorporated into the campus building and green space designs to reduce energy use and conserve water.
A typical building on the site will be 40% more efficient than comparably sized buildings in Houston. Offices will feature windows that allow an optimal amount of sunlight in buildings while cutting down on radiant heat. Other design features will allow personal control of workspace temperatures and lighting.
"Our architects carefully considered the vertical impact of buildings on the local environment as well as other factors such as the solar orientation of structures," Hennessy said. "We’ll be able to measure, plan and control the energy use of every building and the campus as a whole."
Each building has setbacks, and many have outdoor terraces on upper floors to reduce the perceived scale. Campus water usage will be reduced by 80% versus a comparable-sized development through collection and reuse of rainwater, air conditioning condensate and other sources.
The new campus will include the Energy Center, a meeting and training center that will serve as the gateway into the facility. The building will feature a 10,000-ton floating cube positioned 80 feet above the plaza and reflecting pool below.
A major laboratory in the south area of the campus called the Science Quad will support the upstream and downstream businesses. The laboratory will be a premier research and physical science facility promoting innovation and discovery. A 100,000-square-foot Wellness Center will support the fitness needs of employees and the campus will include a Child Development Center providing child care and early-education services for children six weeks to pre-kindergarten.
In addition to the Energy Center, other dining choices will be available throughout the campus as well as retail shops and a concierge service.