Graycor Inc.

Northrop Grumman Recognized for Project Excellence with AZ Big Media RED Award for Office Interiors

Developed by SunCap, the design-build of Gilbert Spectrum Building 5 was completed by Graycor and designer Gensler. Building 5 is the central figure in a re-masterplanning of the Gilbert Campus for Northrop Grumman, a massive global aerospace and defense company that serves as a major economic driver and employs hundreds of local residents.

The goal of the new master plan was to co-locate Northrop Grumman’s staff and re-balance its department teams between the company’s three existing facilities at Gilbert Spectrum and to build, design and deliver the newest addition to the campus – the two-story, 120,294-square-foot Building 5.

This was achieved on time and on budget, with a total 37,608 manhours and zero OSHA recordable incidents or time lost due to injury.

At Building 5, mission-critical employees are now located under one roof in an embedded team approach that creates improved response time between the engineering and satellite manufacturing contingencies. Building 5 also serves as a home base for the other nearby Northrop Grumman/Gilbert Spectrum buildings. It offers shared amenities like an employee café, outdoor patio space with landscaping, shade canopies and seating, and a 300-person all-hands conferencing center that required collaboration from the contractor, tech experts and a structural steel fabricator to create a custom operable wall system that would allow the space to sub-divide to meet a variety of presentation needs.

Building 5 features an open-office work environment and highly secure technical workspaces. A central “boulevard” connects these areas with a large first-floor conferencing block while also providing an acoustical barrier from the office space. A dramatic interior design also relays the company’s mission and brand – an outward celebration of the work that Northrop Grumman does, while meeting their security needs.

Gensler’s overall design concept for Building 5 centers on expressing the intangible layers that make up the earth’s atmosphere. Gradient hues were employed as a design motif to represent the atmospheric layers between space and the Arizona terrain. To convey this feature, golden tones to deep sky blues were incorporated flanking both sides of the main conferencing ‘boulevard’, visually connecting the building’s first and second floors and enhancing the verticality of the space.

One of the highlights of the Building 5 interior is a suspended satellite, which hovers high above the main lobby as a focal point for those climbing the main feature staircase. Once inside the second-floor conference room, the satellite is on display at eye level. This reflects a systematic balance of space representation and company productivity, which is vital to Northrop Grumman’s overall mission.

This design was enhanced with top-quality custom finishes that placed an emphasis on craftsmanship. For example, over 500 hours went into carefully crafting custom pieces such as the security desk, ‘boulevard’ media displays and gradient elevator glass simulating sunrise and sunset. The team also showcased their construction skills by detailing the unique main staircase, a focal point for the Building 5 entry.

Within Building 5’s workspaces, an open feel was important (deployed with the help of generous 15’ floor-to-floor elevations) but so was privacy and acoustics. This is addressed with wall assemblies specifically designed and constructed for high-performance. Glass doors were also frosted, suspended acoustical ceiling tile was included in the open office, and tectum acoustical baffles were designed for circulation corridors to mitigate sound.

In the secure spaces, Graycor elevated industry standards with unique construction techniques that are strategically deployed to meet national and international requirements. It completes the Building 5 impact with an eye-catching flagstone veneer with steel canopies, and covered and uncovered parking to accommodate 602 vehicles, including four electric vehicle charging stations.

Safety throughout the actual construction process sets this project apart, particularly in light of the pandemic. In addition to Graycor’s market-leading construction safety standards, it also put into place enhanced protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID 19 by reducing close contact among staff and trades. Part of this plan included the addition of a second field office to allow for social distancing, a full-time on-site medic who administered temperature checks throughout the day, the erection of a tent where field meetings, safety talks and other key meetings were held and additional hand washing stations were located throughout the site for ease of use.