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Nu Skin Innovation Center, Provo, Utah

Nu Skin Innovation Center, Provo, Utah

By American Institute of Steel Construction | May 5, 2016

Photo: Nic Lehoux

Owner: Nu Skin Enterprises, Provo, Utah

*Architect: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Structural Engineer: Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Seattle

General Contractor: Okland Construction, Salt Lake City, Utah

Fabricator: Tech-Steel, Clearfield, Utah (AISC member / AISC certified fabricator)

Detailer: Axis Steel Detailing, Inc., Orem, Utah (AISC member)

Bender-Roller: Paramount Roll & Form, Santa Fe Springs, Calif. (AISC member)

*Firm that entered the project in the IDEAS2 contest

The Nu Skin Innovation Center transforms Nu Skin Enterprises’ corporate campus in Provo, Utah, into an inspiring new headquarters that reflects the modern sensibilities of a global company. This new 170,000-sq.-ft facility houses research laboratories, conference spaces, two cafés, a retail storefront, a fitness center, three floors of executive offices and a data center in a series of elegant, light-filled spaces that reflect the aspirational qualities of the Nu Skin brand and its extraordinary line of anti-aging products. The project cost was $74 million.

The Innovation Center is comprised of three primary elements: a three-story building to the north that responds to the scale of Provo’s historic Center Street; a six-story steel-framed building to the south; and a four-story atrium linking the new buildings to each other and to the existing Nu Skin office tower. The atrium is the heart of the new campus, acting as a glazed spine and entry hall designed to host thousands of people from around the world and to accommodate multiple activities and events concurrently. Visitors and employees enter the atrium through a transparent, glazed volume between the existing Nu

Skin office tower and the new office buildings that visually connects the north and south sides of the campus. At the entrance, a solid granite fountain and sculpted marble reception desk greet visitors to the space. Further west, telescoping glass walls open to a 500-seat meeting room and offer views of a new garden and the Nu Skin campus to the south. Across from the meeting room, a grand staircase draws visitors and staff up to the data center, laboratory and office levels that are connected by circulation paths bridging across the space. Underneath the stair, a cantilevered concrete slab marks the entry to an auditorium space clad in maple wall and ceiling panels to create a warm, inviting interior. A café at the west end of the space affords views of Center Street, linking the atrium with the outdoors.

Above the atrium, glass conference rooms cantilever into the space and a gently curving ceiling of translucent glass is suspended below steel trusses supporting the sky-lit roof, mitigating the intense Utah sunlight and softening the interior space.

The exterior of the Innovation Center is composed of sleek, transparent volumes anchored by crisp, aluminum-clad core spaces. Delicate sunshades along the south elevation of the entry hall and offices shade the interior spaces from direct sunlight while framing views of the nearby Wasatch Mountains. Slender steel columns support a gracious canopy on the south elevation that extends the interior spaces into the landscape, while providing shade and protection during inclement weather. Crowning the south building is an airfoil-shaped mechanical penthouse, a nod to the barrel-vaulted forms of the original Nu Skin tower.

The structural systems of each of the buildings respond to the functions within each space. The gravity framing for the North Building consists of concrete columns supporting a 10-in.-thick concrete slab and wide shallow concrete beams. Concrete was used for this structure to minimize the structural depth and the overall building height along Center Street; effectively controlling vibration in the laboratory space and allowing architecturally exposed soffits in select locations.

The typical framing is comprised of structural steel columns supporting composite steel beams and composite floor slabs with 3 inches of normal-weight concrete over 3-in. steel deck. To eliminate columns in a very large meeting room at the first floor, six tower columns are transferred at the third floor. Those columns are supported by two 67-ft-long built-up steel plate girders spanning in the north-south direction and two 85-ft-long story-deep trusses spanning in the east-west direction.

The sharply curved penthouse roof on the South Building is one of the exterior highlights of the project, and the radii of the roof beams vary from 95 feet down to 3 ft, 4 in. Structural steel was vital to this daring geometry, as was as the heroic transfers over the meeting room. Structural steel also facilitated more flexible structural bays in the office areas, and reduced construction time for the taller structure.

The atrium is the heart of the Nu Skin campus, and steel framing was essential to create this dramatic space:

  • The glass roof is supported by steel girders which span between the North and South Buildings, along with intermediate steel beams and tension bracing.
  • The translucent glass ceiling is hung from delicate trusses, which are in turn suspended from the roof girders.
  • The 10-ft, 6-in.-wide feature stair rises 29 feet between Levels 1 and 3, and runs 93 feet continuously along the atrium. The stringers and treads and both fabricated with steel channels.
  • Bridges spanning the atrium are supported simply by steel beams.
  • Conference rooms cantilevering into the atrium are supported by remarkably small beams, post and tension rods.
  • The 4-story high glass walls are supported by primary and secondary structural steel.

The seismicity in Provo is quite high, and the atrium roof and bridges are not strong enough to tie the buildings together. Therefore, the North and South Buildings are seismically separated with an expansion joint at the north side of the atrium. Lateral forces for the North and South Buildings are resisted by shear walls, which minimize relative movement between the buildings during seismic events.

While it may be unusual to use different structural systems for buildings on either side of a common atrium, the differences in building functions justifies an uncommon solution. In addition to supporting the needs of the individual building functions, the unique structural solution helped accelerate the construction schedule. Construction proceeded on the concrete North Building while the steel was being fabricated for the South Building.

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