Real Estate Design Guidelines Global


A rapidly-expanding Fortune 500 corporation engaged William McDonough + Partners to develop sustainability guidelines as part of a larger effort to codify their unique approach to facility construction. Driven by the founders’ strong personal commitment to the environment and healthy workplaces, the guidelines also served to attract and retain the most talented employees in an increasingly competitive market.

To understand our client’s unique culture and values, WM+P worked closely with representatives from the planning group, toured existing facilities, reviewed previous guidelines documents, interviewed outside consultants who were in the process of designing and constructing new facilities, and conducted in-house work sessions. In conjunction with daylighting, MEP and acoustics consultants, WM+P analyzed existing facilities in terms of energy and workplace performance to better understand what the corporation’s best practices were and how they could be further improved.

From this exposure, four forces emerged that would shape the guidelines content. The first was a company-wide frugality when it came to constructing facilities. While investing heavily in things that directly affected the health or productivity of their employees (such as indoor air quality), the corporation did not value high design for its own sake and prided itself on a humble aesthetic. Secondly, as a group of engineers and scientists, the corporation demanded real data on performance and would not accept something as “green” or “sustainable” without substantial data to prove it. Next, the company was growing at an exponential rate, and project managers needed something simple, quick and direct to tell them what was expected in terms of sustainability performance. A final force was the corporation’s desire to spur innovation and promote widespread adoption of emerging technologies; in contrast to its inherent frugality, they were interested in taking risks if they could promote a greater good.


Office Facilities ranging from tenant improvements to new building campuses




DEGW, Lead Consultant
William McDonough + Partners, Sustainability Consultant
Arup, MEP Consultant
Loisos + Ubbelohde, Daylighting and Electric Lighting Consultant
Newson Brown, Acoustic Consultant