This office campus was designed to bring together 3,000 IBM employees from different facilities without overwhelming a prime 720-acre woodland site in Westchester County, New York, home to country estates and residents concerned over corporate growth in the semi-rural area. The project “required I.M. Pei’s enormous vision,” according to IBM chairman Art Hedge, who also worked with Pei on IBM buildings in Purchase and Armonk, New York and at Wildwood in Atlanta, Georgia.
The 1.2 million-square-foot complex includes four identical 5-story office pavilions, triangular in shape and ratcheted on two sides to bring in greater views and natural light. The pavilions are linked by 1-story bars to a 4-story central services building, the communal heart of the complex, with ancillary support. A city unto itself, the campus has its own water treatment plant, a helipad, 25 acres of parking, and a defining ring road – part of a new 5.5-mile roadway system within and around the site to provide controlled entry points and direct access to state and regional highways, all to minimize impact on the town’s existing streets and intersections.
The buildings are clad in off-white painted aluminum panels with lightly reflective windows. Each office pavilion has its own entrance atrium crowned by a partial pyramid; a 50-foot-high full glass pyramid tops the main building. The choice of geometry lies in the pyramid’s inherent strength and its simplicity and ease of construction. The clustered peaks, seen rising above the wooded hillside, created an identity for the complex unlike any other corporate center. I.M. Pei, then personally immersed in the Louvre, relied heavily on his associate partner Ted Musho and attributed the design to him.
In 2016, IBM reassigned its employees to other nearby buildings and sold the complex for reuse as a private boarding and day school. The exterior remains intact; the interior is being renovated for high school use by I.M. Pei’s sons at PEI Architects.
Design Team: I.M. Pei, Design Partner; Theodore J. Musho, Design Architect; I.M. Pei & Partners
PEI Architects: Renovation