Saint-Gobain’s New HQ: From Ignoble to Iconic

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The transformation of an abandoned corporate eyesore into an epic icon is a modern testament to Saint-Gobain’s legacy of quality and innovation.--photo via RetrofitMagazine.com
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What the HQ looked like before Saint-Gobain took the building back to the drawing board.

Malvern has been the proving ground for a transformative effort as legendary as the 350-year-old building materials giant it was created for: the resurrection of a monumental corporate eyesore and its reshaping into a sustainable continental headquarters for France-based Saint-Gobain as iconic as its historic feats in building the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles and the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Though the original buildings were designed by “one of the most influential mid-century modernists in the region,” a Retrofit Magazine feature by Neil B. Liebman explained, they required a team of the best minds from Chester County and beyond to “effectively reposition an aging architectural experiment into a shining celebration of the international corporate giant that now lives within its walls.”

It’s the story of transitioning one architectural icon to another, of taking a faded jewel with massive energy waste that lay abandoned and both repositioning and re-envisioning it to salvage tremendous value in reuse and recycling, as well as revive an idyllic site “plentiful in natural features with a forest bordering one side, a pond, stream, natural walking trail and wide swaths of land which would provide beautiful vistas for future employees,” the article stated.

In the end, Saint-Gobain received a “beautiful 277,000-square-foot office building with an innovative and eye-catching design that is almost entirely constructed of products made by Saint-Gobain and its family of companies” and adheres to the highest LEED standards, all thanks to businesses like Downingtown developers E. Kahn Development and J. Loew & Associates, Kennett Square architect Bernardon, Wayne site engineer Nave Newell, Downingtown general contractor D. Fickler Construction and many more.

Read much more about the Saint-Gobain transformation in Malvern in Retrofit Magazine here, and check out previous VISTA Today coverage of the progress here.

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