Urban Places. Green Spaces.

“ Prior to adding the new facility, we had to explain our location to visitors. Now we're a landmark in the Brewery District and our campus is seen as a contemporary, environmentally conscious campus that ‘fits’ within this historical business district. ”

Mark Russell Vice President and Chief Insurance Operations Officer, Grange Insurance

Grange, an insurance and financial services provider, decided to enhance their corporate campus to meet the demands of their clients, employees and the surrounding community. Located at the southern edge of downtown Columbus, the expanded headquarters transformed Grange’s existing office building into a vibrant mixed-use environment that provides a welcoming “civic hub” for the city. Situated at the heart of the Brewery District, the campus serves as the transition between the existing urban office/mixed use areas to the north and the primarily residential areas to the south.

The project allowed Grange Insurance to consolidate all headquarters activities on a single campus, bringing multiple efficiencies to day-to-day operations. The expansion, coupled with a new 1000-space parking structure with street-level retail/office and the renovation of a historic warehouse for residential units, is an economic catalyst for the area while providing much needed public parking for businesses and residents.

Landscape Architecture

The new urban plaza, which is shared with the community, also serves as a respite and event space for the company’s 800 employees. The plaza’s location adjacent to the corporate lobby, multipurpose room and cafeteria, make it an attractive and accessible outdoor amenity for events and corporate gatherings. The space is composed of a long, low profile reflecting pool, a gridded grove of upright Liberty Elms, low evergreen hedges and groundcovers, thin profile architectural concrete walls and a plaza surface consisting of finely textured precast pavers arranged in a subtle, linear pattern. The plaza’s components are executed with a high level of craft to ensure longevity and to express the company’s commitment to quality.

In an effort to re-engage a key part of the site’s historic urban fabric, the corporate lobby was developed along what was formerly Wall Street. This redesigned corridor was constructed to become the main pedestrian path that connects the new car park to the corporate lobby, as well as to the Rain Garden, Service Court and the South Green.

The 5,300-square-foot Rain Garden serves as a highly visual and functional environmental feature on campus. Working hand-in-hand with the building’s 10,000 square feet of green roofs and a below-grade detention piping system, the rain garden slows the erosive forces of stormwater while enhancing water quality. Flood-tolerant canopy trees in the lower basin provide shade to the dining terrace and adjacent pathways. Plants utilized in the garden basin are water and drought tolerant species and change colors during the seasons. This stormwater management system reduces the amount of rainwater exiting the site by over 30% which helps recharge the local aquifer while reducing the impact of onsite stormwater the nearby Olentangy River corridor.

The South Green draws people outdoors from the headquarters and invites people from the surrounding neighborhood to enjoy it as well. Two parking lots were removed, mature existing trees were preserved, lawn panels were regraded, a lighted perimeter walking path was added along with plantings that loosely reinforce the green’s perimeter and internal spaces. What was a collection of disparate spaces consisting of remnant trees and paving from earlier decades was reconstituted and shaped to provide an attractive, cohesive park setting that serves both private and public users.

“ The visible and functional sustainable design elements at our facility help us demonstrate our commitment to our neighborhood and the environment. ”

Mark Russell Vice President and Chief Insurance Operations Officer, Grange Insurance

Stormwater Management
Stormwater Management
Stormwater Management
Stormwater Management

Awards and Publications

Awards

AIA Columbus Chapter, Merit Award for Design Excellence
ASLA Ohio Chapter, Honor Award (built)
ASLA Ohio Chapter, Honor Award (unbuilt)

Publications

World Landscape Architecture, "Grange Insurance Headquarters Landscape," February 2014
The Columbus Dispatch, “New Jewel on S. High,” July 30, 2009