Jacobs/Ryan & Associates
Serta International Center; Hoffman Estates, IL

Client: Serta International
Architect: Epstein/Metter Studio
Engineer: Epstein
Contractors: Countryside Industries, Inc.; G A Johnson & Son
Category: Design - Commercial

Commissioned to create a corporate headquarters building that would consolidate facilities, the architect and landscape architect collaborated to strategically select a natural site that could be developed in a sustainable manner. Set in the Prairie Stone industrial office complex in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, the Serta mattress company headquarters gracefully floats on the landscape with sweeping views of the prairie and a central wetland. The site's building and landscape express an abstract and modern philosophy about nature and the relationship of people to nature.

The landscape is large and open-a serene landscape of sun-drenched prairie punctuated by aggregate woodland clusters. Oaks, hackberries, honey locusts and hawthorns join with elderberry and sumac in a composition appropriate to a natural setting. Native prairie landscaping, overland drainage bioswales, pervious paving, and other sustainable design features reinforced the project team's commitment to preserving and protecting the site's natural features. In this process, Serta chose to build less than 10% of the area allowed on the site and less than 50% of the required parking, in order to minimize the building's impact on the surrounding landscape.

The landscape design may seem simple, as modern landscapes often appear, but landscape and building create a holistic composition wherein the building delicately sits on the landscape to emphasize the concepts of environmental sustainability and the sweeping lines of the prairie. ‘The natural world was out there and it was powerful,' said the architect.' We didn't need to do anything but settle into it.' The landscape architect's mission was to make that settling seamless, to rest the building in the prairie.