Attracting, developing, retaining and advancing talent at all levels is a key tenet for Medpace—a scientifically-driven clinical research organization (CRO) that conducts global clinical research for the development of medical therapeutics and devices. When the organization elected to expand its Madisonville campus footprint to accommodate significant growth and attract top-tier talent, they reached out to Gresham Smith. Our campus master plan delivers a dynamic new 263,000-square-foot, seven-story global headquarters for this progressive CRO.
Featuring an open and vibrant interior design that reflects Medpace’s unique corporate identity, while at the same time supporting their focus on wellness and an active culture, the project also includes street-level retail shops and a 900-car parking garage. The new HQ serves as an iconic new identity for the Medpace campus while embracing the cultural and contextual aesthetic of the Madisonville neighborhood.
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Promoting InterconnectivityOur early development studies explored different building layouts, connectivity and massing. While all options solved different issues, the idea of a central core was ultimately carried throughout. This allowed the master plan to develop while maintaining focus on Medpace’s vision of an interconnected campus, complete with walkable paths, retail, restaurants, and daily, health-related activities.
At the Heart of All ActivityThe building’s articulated facade subtly captures the essence of DNA mapping—a process that is critical to the Medpace brand. In a true multidisciplinary effort, Gresham Smith provided a full suite of services for the project, including architecture, interior design, structural and MEP engineering. Our master plan places Medpace Building 400 at a location central to all activity within the campus and utilizes the retail space embedded at the base, which keeps this mixed-use development activated well into the evening hours.
A Prominent Stance in the CommunityVisible from Interstate 71, the seven-story, Class-A office tower takes a prominent stance in the community—fitting for Madisonville’s largest employer. A future food hall accessible to the public, along with multifamily housing, will eventually bound the western and southern edges of the campus. This layout not only affords ample connectivity to the existing campus but also provides Medpace with a central plaza that can be used for both private and public events.
Locally InspiredThe striking two-story, 900-space rainbow-colored parking garage pays homage to the locally celebrated rainbow columns on-site. The design team took these historical cues and reimagined them into a garage cladding that captures the history of place. Framed canvas elements are provided at both the north and south ends of the garage for future rotating public art installations.
Keeping it SimpleThe entrance to the office tower is centrally located, allowing the north and south ends of the building to be activated by retail. The projected canopy provides cover from the elements out to the sidewalk edge, inviting drop-off and pedestrian traffic into the building entry. The exterior material palette was kept simple to allow the presentation of the building as a backdrop, the adjacent LED art installation, and the greenery of the plantings to highlight the experience, as employees and visitors transition into the warm, well-lit interior environment.
Capturing Medpace’s IdentityOur interior design celebrates the Medpace culture and highlights their mission to make the complex seamless. This starts at the front door as the welcoming warmth of wood and abundant natural light pull you into the reception area. The artful reception desk integrates alternating color and dichroic films into illuminated prisms that change as you move through the space. The pattern created by the prisms is a reference to genomic DNA mapping and a nod to Medpace’s state-of-the-art molecular suites. As expressed on the building’s facade, this mapping pattern becomes a consistent design thread throughout the building’s interior, appearing at various scales.
Putting Employee Wellness Front & CenterThe interior design supports Medpace’s steadfast commitment to health and wellness through Biophilic planning for outdoor views and strategic building circulation, which encourages movement and social connection throughout the building.
A primary example is the wide, centralized, communicating stair—the focal point at the terminus of the lobby. The stair purposefully connects employees to nature, providing daylighting and views of all seven stories of the building. The stair also acts as a connector to social spaces—including breakrooms, lounge and meeting spaces. This intentional planning encourages users to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Another example of alignment with Medpace’s wellness principles can be seen in the fitness center. The 5,000-square-foot state-of-the-art gym is nestled on the building’s second floor and offers sweeping views of the city.
An Eye-Catching MatrixServing as a colorful expression of the art and science of Medpace, which is known for its appreciation of fine and distinctive art, the glazing at the stairwell atrium boasts a six-story custom LED art installation designed by world-renowned LED artist Erwin Redl.
Featuring 10 x 10 panels that are illuminated by color-changing LED lights, the “Medpace Matrix” brings the exterior of the HQ to life, especially at night, while creating a unique interactive experience for employees that can be enjoyed from different levels of the interior. The deliberate placement of art along this circulation makes the journey more engaging for the user experience.
Private Yet OpenSince understanding privacy is often a hallmark of the Medpace work environment, we strategically used architecture to punctuate large expanses of open office to avoid the dreaded “sea of workstations” while still upholding desired view lines and allowing daylight to permeate deep into the space.
We brought much of the solid program, such as offices and conference rooms, into the center of the building while workstations utilized open areas around the perimeter. To further meet Medpace’s operational and functional needs, our team designed a spacious workstation layout that incorporates gallery walls on two sides. This layout allows for seated privacy while still providing openness for daylighting and views.
A Bird’s-Eye ViewBuilding 400 includes two conference centers with full perimeter glazing that brings the outside in. Both conference centers include large training rooms strategically situated to take advantage of surrounding views, conference rooms with enhanced A/V, as well as breakout areas with built-in hospitality areas.
Setting an International StandardOther features of the 263,000-square-foot office tower include light-filled, vibrant-hued break areas located on each floor, which provide floor-to-ceiling views to the natural surroundings. Plantings adorn a wall above the banquette seating as an additional Biophilic element in the space. Both private offices and open offices throughout the floor plan offer sweeping views to the natural vistas beyond.
Employee feedback on the new headquarters has been so overwhelmingly positive that Medpace has made our interior design the standard for its facilities worldwide. The design attributes that make Medpace Building 400 such a unique, energetic and vibrant place to work are successful because they complement the culture, support the work, and create a great experience for employees.