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Photo © Robert Canfield
Clerestories bring in natural light while art installations made of used, donated sporting equipment add character to the expansive office.


Clif Bar Headquarters

ZGF Architects
Emeryville, California

Going the Distance: ZGF's adaptive reuse project exemplifies design that sustains employees and the planet.

By Jenna M. McKnight
January 2012
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Reception TerraMai, World Mix, naturally distressed

Countertop Corian, Terra Collection, canvas, rice paper

Resin panel Lumicor, Lumiclear R4, birch

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Beyond preserving original elements, ZGF utilized secondhand materials, from the café's pizza oven (procured from a local restaurant) to 12,000 board feet of reclaimed wood, from sources like barns and railroad ties. Even certain door pulls are fabricated from old bike frames. New materials were selected with an eye toward sustainability, such as eco-friendly linoleum and carpet tiles in the daycare center.

Conserving energy and water was also crucial. On the roof, 1,900 recently installed photovoltaic panels are projected to meet most of the facility's power needs, and solar thermal panels are expected to provide 70 percent of the hot water. Inside, low-flow plumbing fixtures help reduce water usage by more than 30 percent. Sensors turn off overhead lights when there is sufficient daylight, while others power down monitors and task lighting when cubicles are unoccupied. It's no surprise that the project awaits LEED-Platinum CI certification.

The ZGF team clearly got the Clif mojo. "We're so happy about the new building. It exceeds our expectations," says Torgersen. She is particularly impressed with the abundance of daylight, considering that her prior office lacked windows. "Seeing the passage of time and having natural light in the workspace—it's invigorating." After creating such an environmentally and employee-friendly office, Berg and her associates might have to reward themselves with a few Shot Roks.

Jenna M. McKnight serves as news director at Architectural Record magazine.

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