Hyundai Draws Up Plans for New $150M Green Headquarters in US

Hyundai Draws Up Plans for New $150M Green Headquarters in US

Hyundai Motor America is working with the Gensler architectural firm to raze the U.S. headquarters that the automaker occupied for the past two decades and replace it with a new building that's designed to meet the LEED-Gold green building standard.

The project in Southern California's Fountain Valley is expected to be a more than $150 million investment, which Hyundai said will be the most the company has earmarked thus far for an office building in this country.

Gensler specializes in sustainable design and has a hefty portfolio of prominent green projects around the world. The firm was the lead architect for the extensive green renovations at the international airports in San Francisco and San Jose, which respectively earned LEED Gold and Silver ratings from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The vision for Hyundai America's new U.S. base is a six-story building encompassing 419,000 square feet that takes advantage of the abundant natural light in the region and uses the building design and systems planned for the structure to cool and heat the premises efficiently.

The building is intended to provide aggressive energy and water savings as required by LEED criteria, which are based on expectations that are increasingly rigorous at each subsequent level of the four-tier ratings system. The first tier is basic certification, which is followed by silver certification -- the minimum level sought by federal government buildings and public buildings in a growing number of U.S. cities and states. Gold certification is the second highest level, and platinum certification is the top tier.

The Hyundai isn't talking about its design strategy for achieving gold-level certification just yet, or saying what that $150 million plus will buy.

According to a few early details released with a rendering earlier this week (that's it at the top of the page), the building will be designed around an open courtyard. The main entrance will be two stories high, and the upper floors are expected to look as though they are made of floating translucent glass.

The building, which sits alongside the 405 San Diego Freeway, will also have a car showroom that will be visible to passing drivers. The headquarters complex will include a single-story, 50,000-square-foot building for technical services and a parking structure.

The complex replaces a 221,000 square foot building that Hyundai moved into in 1990. Demolition of the structure has started and workers are striving to divert as much waste from landfill as possible, a company representative said. For example, metals and wood were streamed to recyclers, and concrete and asphalt is expected to be pulverized and reused on site, she said.

She also noted there have been other initiatives to make the company's buildings and facilities greener, but the construction of the new headquarters is the most extensive undertaking to date.

The 700 people who worked in the building are now in temporary quarters in nearby Costa Mesa. The new complex is expected to be complete by fall 2013.