SEI Investments, Inc., a banking and financial software services firm with operations worldwide, commissioned Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle to develop and implement a multi-phase master plan for their 90-acre site located outside Philadelphia. Master planned for 650,000 square feet, SEI Investment’s corporate campus is designed to maximize employee environmental benefits, increase productivity, and eliminate about $1 million per year in operational costs. For five consecutive years, SEI has been named one of Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For in America.” In addition to general statistics regarding employees, jobs, and management, the company was recognized for its family center, egalitarian culture, and beautiful grounds.
SEI did not wish to establish narrow or restricting program guidelines on the project. This lack of restriction corresponds directly to the company’s intense interest in continual reinvention and renewal of itself. By eliminating the traditional program procedure (detailed programming of individual work place and groups), the design could be open-ended and remain nimble and flexible to the continually evolving needs of SEI and its clients.
One of the stated reasons that SEI selected MS&R was an ability to combine low cost with design innovation. Specifically, we believed that extra-ordinary performance and design could be leveraged from ordinary materials. The design is about both performance and aesthetics—leveraging intelligence rather than over spending. The project uses all non-toxic and recycled materials. For example, the floor covering is recycled rubber. Because of a lease expiration, the entire process (design to move-in) was completed in 31 months by using fast-track bidding and construction procedures. The final construction cost was $88.80 per gross square foot. We have continued the working partnership with SEI, most recently completing Phase VI of the corporate campus.
The design eliminates $1 million in annual operational costs that SEI was spending on moving its people into new work groups. This savings was accomplished by custom designing a drop-down power/data/telecommunication system. All furniture is on wheels, and doorways are scaled to allow teams to move at will. No individual sits further than 30 feet from a window, and most of the Swedish-designed “H” windows are operable. The entire building incorporates recycled tires for its flooring for easy cleaning and acoustical quality.
Phase I: 230,000 SF; Completed 1996
Phase II: 40,033 SF; Completed 1998
Phase III: 140,000 SF + 714-stall parking garage; Completed 2001
Phase IV: 37,000 SF + 665-stall parking garage; Completed 2002
Phase V: 85,300 SF, Completed 2005
Phase VI: 79,283 SF, completed 2008
Total: 611,616 SF
Total of 10 buildings and 2 parking garages.