Sallie Mae management desired an improved workplace environment for their 700 employees. The goal of the building design was to create a corporate home that is elegant and timeless, and that sets a standard for corporate architecture. Sallie Mae was a unique client, giving the design team latitude with the design elements as long as the design and construction team stayed within budget and schedule.
Sallie Mae’s new corporate headquarters building was relocated within the urban core portion of Reston Town Center at the southeast portion of the intersection of Town Center Parkway and Bluemont Way. The 4.65-acre site is adjacent to the NVRPA (W&OD) Trail, and will serve to anchor the southwestern corner of the Town Center Urban Core. The building itself is nine stories with approximately 240,000 gross square feet, plus structured parking below grade.
The design of the project is intended to reflect Sallie Mae’s mission of service to the higher education community with an image of a progressive, forward-thinking design that will compliment the other buildings within the Town Center while maintaining it’s own identity. The building is clad with a combination of architectural precast concrete, glass curtainwall, and aluminum panels. Corner tower features create a hierarchy in the massing of the building and are visible beacons from Reston Town Center and the Dulles access road. A metaphorical “Ascension to Learning” atrium-stair feature runs the full height of the building to foster inter-floor communication of employees using an internal stair that connects each floor. The stair feature continues up the building and terminates at a rooftop terrace for employee use and other event gatherings. The building sits atop a horizontal plinth base to create a dramatic approach sequence to a landscaped entry court and drop-off. The plinth base conceals the loading/service areas and the majority of the parking from public view. A “battered” wall massing is used to create a softer pedestrian scale around the base with the use of stepped planters replicating natural stone forms.