«previous pageTHE LANDMARK AWARD CATEGORY Co-sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation
The Landmark Award
PepsiCo World Headquarters, Purchase, NY
EDSA, Fort Lauderdale, FL
The PepsiCo World Headquarters in Purchase, New York is a resounding example of how the blending of landscapes, sculptures, gardens and fountains not only transform a corporate campus environment but also enhance the quality of employees’ attitudes, lifestyles and overall performance. PepsiCo’s corporate headquarters was designed to nurture the excellence and aspirations of its people and products over thirty years ago. The corporate campus and the company continue to embody this philosophy today.
PepsiCo was founded in 1965 through the merger of PepsiCo and Frito-Lay. By the late 60s the new corporation was approaching the $1 billion mark in sales. They began to look for a new headquarters location which would signify the strength of the company and the market presence they intended to achieve. PepsiCo made the decision to move 45 minutes outside New York City to 114 acres on little-used polo grounds and forested land in Purchase, New York.
In 1970, PepsiCo Chief Executive Officer Donald M. Kendall assumed the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors. Mr. Kendall was very involved in choosing the architect and design team that would design their new headquarters and stayed involved, not just through all aspects of design and construction but many years beyond. The company hired the world renowned architect Edward Durrell Stone to design the building complex which would occupy 10 acres of the site and consist of seven three-story buildings representing the seven divisions of PepsiCo at the time.
The Landscape Architectural firm chosen to design the surrounding habitat that would embrace the building had its beginnings only five years prior to PepsiCo and was quickly becoming a leader in their respective field as well. They were brought on board to blend this major building complex into a landscape of great natural beauty. In their new corporate home, PepsiCo would welcome the world and advance its positioning to compete with global markets.
One of the goals the Landscape Architect had at the very center of their planning and design process was the balance between practical and aesthetic. The quality of a person’s physical surroundings has a real and profound impact on their attitude and performance as well as their enjoyment of a place. The firm beautifully integrated the employees’ experience and needs with the requirements of the structures and hardscape elements.
The international prominence of PepsiCo was illustrated through a planting palette that included not only native trees, shrubs and grasses, but plant material from different countries and biomes. Trees were added to the grounds complete with placards designating their name origin. Existing greenhouses on the property were maintained and used to grow all of the annuals used on the property. Plants were also made available to employees.
The Landscape Architects were able to draw upon the environmental movement that was beginning to gain momentum around that same time by making it a priority to feature important environmental elements on the site. To protect the water quality of the adjacent brook, a lake was created with the perimeter road serving as a dam. Water drainage from roof tops and surface water flowed into the lake and was filtered out before exiting to the brook.
It was always the intent to create a sustainable, quality environment for employees to work. Carpooling was encouraged and the whole experience from arriving at the site, to parking one’s car, to walking through park-like surroundings, set the tone for the day. The parking was sited beyond the forest to obscure cars from view as well as to permit employees to walk/exercise before arriving at their desks and then again in the evening as a way to decompress.
The office buildings and spaces were designed with open, accessibility to nature, formal landscapes and sculptures which, in turn, created a unique environment that enhances the workplace and spawns creativity. The quality environment created at PepsiCo resulted in lower turnover, less absenteeism, shorter lunch hours and greater productivity.
In working with Mr. Kendall, the Landscape Architect was able to integrate his vision for the company which included the creation of a sculpture park named after him that focused on major twentieth century art, and featured works by masters such as Auguste Rodin, Henri Laurens, Henry Moore, Alexander Calder, Alberto Giacometti, Arnaldo Pomodoro and Claes Oldenberg. Mot only enjoyed by the employees, the Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Garden has been a great attraction and draws people from all over the country and local community.
The Garden has expanded throughout the years and now includes 45 large-scale sculptures of bronze, marble, steel, nickel, resin, granite and spruce all selected by Mr. Kendall.
This blend of landscape and function not only exists on the lawns and paths surrounding the building, but other aspects of the property as well. The seven building complex was set on mounds for prominence and to keep apparent height to three floors. These mounds also allowed for easier access by employees through an underground connection with services and pedestrian corridors to the dining and gym facilities. The buildings were arranged around a formal entrance court complete with fountain. Three courtyards are located throughout the buildings offering places for meeting, relaxing and gaining inspiration during the work day. Fountains, plantings, walkways and sculpture make up these courtyards forming a calming oasis in each space.
The Landscape Architect remained involved with PepsiCo 14 years after the construction was complete and still looks back on this World Headquarters project with both a fondness and a sense of pride to have been involved with a landmark undertaking giving so much to visitors and its thriving employees.
The world’s best corporate campuses succeed because they enhance the quality of life while allowing for growth and change. The PepsiCo World Headquarters continues to be a wonderful representation of this in its conception and continues to embody this philosophy today.
"One of the most extraordinary gardens anywhere in the world and one of the greatest post-war efforts of that period. It gets more beautiful every year and is the perfect place to learn about where art should be placed in the landscape. But the landscape is so powerful, it's not just about looking at the art. The concept of separating the parking lots from the building and forcing everyone to walk through this beautiful area to get to work is an extraordinary move on the part of the owner. It marks one of the first times a great landscape had to deal with cars and the relationship is extraordinary. How the landscape is integrated with parking has really stood the test of time. A masterpiece."
— 2009 Professional Awards Jury