The Beauty of the Nu Skin® Innovation Center
When you think of beauty products, Nu Skin almost always comes to mind as a company in the forefront of the industry. Founded more than 30 years ago, Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. develops and distributes innovative consumer products, offering a comprehensive line of premium-quality beauty and wellness solutions. The company builds upon its scientific expertise in both skin care and nutrition to continually develop innovative product brands. They wanted their expanded headquarters to reflect the core essence of the business.
Few places are as breathtaking and scenic as the Wasatch mountains that surround Provo, Utah. These views were certainly not wasted when the facade design took shape at the Nu Skin® Innovation Center expansion. This building brought a majority of Nu Skin’s corporate employees together in a unique campus setting that fosters an innovative work environment and contributed to the revitalization of downtown Provo. The expansion transformed Nu Skin Enterprises’ corporate campus into an awe-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 inspirational qualities of the Nu Skin brand and its extraordinary line of anti-aging products. Originally the expansion was to be $80 million, but Nu Skin leaders added some amenities taking the cost to just more than $100 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 glass 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 entry way.
With all that beauty comes different challenges. Seismic activity is a common occurrence in the area so constructing an iconic building that takes advantage of the views and withstands earthquakes vibrations took customization to a new level. Nu Skin hired architectural firm BCJ (Bohlin Cywinski Jackson), based in Seattle; and Okland Construction, out of Salt Lake City, to design and build the LEED Silver certified structure that uses environmentally friendly building practices.
W&W Glass teamed up with local Salt Lake City installers at Steel Encounters, Inc. to engineer a Pilkington Planar™ structural glass system that would be minimal and transparent, yet built to stand up to the rigorous imposed loads. A hybrid tension rod and horizontal steel plate beam system was used for both 47-foot tall vertical structural glass atrium walls. The south wall required exterior horizontal aluminum louver blades shrouded in front of it to help with shading of the occupants during certain times of the day.
Tension rod facades are becoming a very popular solution to make the transparency of glass the stand-out feature, thereby making structural elements less visible from the inside and out. Tension facades use high-tensile cables or stainless steel rods to impose the loads of the facade on the main structure. This decreases the amount of solid structural elements visible to visitors, therefore increasing the transparency of the façade to maximize the majestic views.
Many hybrid tension rod facades, like that of Nu Skin, often utilize 1- to 2-inch thick horizontal steel plate beams that vary in depth, to brace the system for wind load behind the horizontal joints. These plate beams are combined with vertical stainless steel sag rods or cables to support the dead load of the glass and pick up some of weight of the beam between attachment points at the building columns. The resulting structure helps to spread out the forces put on the building, while keeping the sightlines very clean and open.
The design team selected Pilkington Optifloat™ clear tempered outboard glass with Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron inboard glass for the insulating glass units with a Pilkington 70/40 Pro-T low-e on the #2 surface to provide excellent thermal performance and high visible light. The vertical tension rod and plate beam support system was comprised of three-coat epoxy-painted AESS horizontal steel plate beams connected to the building columns to provide lateral bracing, and stainless steel tension rods with custom stainless steel patch fitting clamps to hold the glass in place and transfer dead load to the top of the system. This type of system worked very well to keep the depth of the system more minimal for a larger vertical span while limiting the amount of load imparted on the boundary structure over that of typical cable tension systems. The end result created two striking entrance facades that will exemplify the Nu Skin brand to employees, clients, and visitors alike all while reflecting the scenic, natural beauty of Utah for years to come.
W&W Glass LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar™ structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.