Volume 25, Issue 1 - JanuaryFebruary 2011


M'm! M'm! Glass!
Campbell’s Soup Employee Services Building Gets Glass Overhaul
by Katie Hodge

Camden, N.J., is seeing things in a new shade of red. The home of famous food brand Campbell’s Soup has updated its employee services building with all different shapes, shades and types of glass. Both the interior and exterior of the building needed updates, a new entrance and modernized facilities. The 80,000-square-foot building now houses amenities and meeting facilities, including a cafeteria, company store and credit union for Campbell’s employees.

New Vision
Campbell’s initiated an architectural design competition and KlingStubbins in Philadelphia ultimately walked away with the job. Design principal Tejoon Jung tried to focus the project around Campbell’s needs.

“The way we approached the design [with the idea] was that we needed to establish a new front door. It has to project an image externally to the city and internationally. Internally it “The way we approached the design [with the idea] was that we needed to establish a new front door. It has to project an image externally to the city and internationally. Internally it should embody the pride that the employees felt with the company and the product line,” says Jung. “We established a large window which serves as a welcoming and a bold statement toward the city with a very transparent glass façade and a big red wall that we call the branding wall, which features super graphics of the Campbell’s logo. Then the remaining building encloses the courtyard, which then functions as an internal living room for the campus. It provides the amenities that the campus needs.”

The design also included the use of a curtainwall to provide transparency to the building. Jung adds, “Glass gives transparency. We used it especially on the north side and the solution that we ended up with was the laminated glass curtainwall horizontally supported with no vertical mullions. The glass was low-iron glass, which guaranteed the most glass transparency.”

Melting Pot
One unique characteristic that makes the Campbell’s Soup building stand out is the wide array of products and brands used in the design. The glass for the main façade was fabricated by Owatonna, Minn.-based Viracon.

“This project had 10,000 feet of Schuco curtainwall. The glass was predominantly Viracon VE12M,” recalls Jerry Moser, director of sales for the contract glazier, R.A. Kennedy and Sons in Philadelphia. “Intermittently the architect placed 1 ¼-inch laminated insulating units that represented four of Campbell’s brand colors: red being Campbell’s Soup, green for V8 Splash, blue for Swanson and yellow for Pepperidge Farm. That was the standard captured-type curtainwall.”

In addition, the building also features another 12,000 feet of curtainwall that was an add-on stem system.

“There were also 12,000 feet of curtainwall from Schuco that was basically a stem applied to structural steel. This was the main north elevation of the building at the front,” continues Moser. “It included 13/16-inch low-iron laminated glass by Viracon and it provided a super-clear view of the main interior glass feature wall, which was red.”

The glass feature wall displays the Campbell’s logo in the specific red color for which the company is known.

“The feature wall was about 4,500 square feet of custom color red back-painted glass and was supplied by a Northeast glass supplier. That’s where the famous Campbell’s logo was applied,” says Moser. “All four sides of the wall were structurally glazed to an aluminum sub-frame and then shop-applied to medium-density fiberboard, which is a very flat material. It was subsequently hung in the field.”

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Paragon Architectural Products fabricated the entries, feature walls and reception desk.

“The exterior also had three entries with 13/16 white laminated glass and the glass that comprised the inside and outside of the walls, the ceiling and the roof was back-lit to provide a glowing effect,” says Moser. “Additionally Paragon Architectural Products provided roughly 2,000 square feet of ¾-inch, tempered, heat-strengthened, low-iron glass that was etched on both sides. This was on the interior of the building at both the stairs and at the feature walls. These were back-lit with LED lights that change colors and in addition they had a metal mesh screening on the back side so it reflected and was very unique.”

Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope™, based in Santa Monica, Calif., fabricated the shelving and 4,000 square feet of interior ½-inch, clear tempered and low-iron entrances and sidelites, including 70 doors. “This includes [Oldcastle’s] display cases which are under the red feature wall and hold pieces of Campbell’s corporate history including old pictures of their building, old Campbell’s Soup cans and labels,” explains Moser. C. R. Laurence Co. Inc., based in Los Angeles, provided the stainless steel cable systems for the shelving that holds Campbell’s memorabilia.

Jumping Hurdles
Due to the large number of companies involved, the project took a great deal of coordination to reach the finished goal.

“The discussions and meetings all went very smoothly. It was critical to the success of the project,” says Paul Marchese, project architect for KlingStubbins. “The approach was a team approach so working out details and making the design intent a reality was important.”

It truly was a team effort. Fortunately, Tom Kennedy [president of R. A. Kennedy and Sons] handled the coordination,” says Moser. “It’s definitely a job where you appreciate the architect’s vision. The architect provided a complete set of construction documents. They knew what they wanted and we just filled in the blanks. We were facilitators of their vision.”

A project of this magnitude is not without struggles. Campbell’s was steadfast in its commitment to save energy, which made Jung’s team members to think through their decisions carefully. They wanted to use as much glass as possible, while maintaining the energy-efficiency of the building.

In addition, the curtainwall faced challenges.

“We had some difficulties with [the curtainwall] design because it is a north-facing wall and Campbell’s had imposed some strict HVAC standards for the space. They didn’t want any condensation on that wall,” recalls Jung. “The solution we came up with was to use the structural steel that is holding up that curtainwall as a defroster system to blow dry, warm air against the laminated glass to prevent condensation during the winter months. We built the full-size mock-up to test out the system. It’s working perfectly now.”

Cost also played a role. Being able to get the desired look within budget meant making some creative choices.

“We were trying to figure out ways to maintain the transparency that would remain cost effective,” says Jung. “The project didn’t have the budget to use spider fittings and things like that. We had to test out different systems that were within the budget. Adhering to the pretty stringent maintenance standards that Campbell’s required also was difficult.”

In addition, the main feature wall which displays the perfect shade of Campbell’s red, didn’t come about easily.

“One of the most difficult things was getting the red color correct with [Campbell’s] interior designer. This particular woman—the interior designer—her life is this red color. It was interesting going to see her at [Campbell’s] world headquarters,” recalls Moser. “There were a lot of very nervous sales people outside and I think they were all thinking about that red color. We went through four or five different versions of the red color before was it acceptable. That red is Campbell’s red.”

One of a Kind
Despite challenges, the building is now serving the Campbell’s employees with a number of unique glass features. The colors throughout the building and incorporated in the glass were picked specifically to reflect the different brands for which Campbell’s is responsible.

“We investigated many different options, whether it was film or Venetian plaster or polycarbonate for the big red wall. What we ended up doing was settling on a back-painted glass wall. That provided the truest fidelity in terms of the red color and Campbell’s brand,” explains Jung. “It’s a highly reflective surface that reflects and casts the red light into the lobby and exhibition hall. It’s also the threshold color. Campbell’s has many different brands such as Pepperidge farm, V8, etc. Red is the main color, but beyond that there are different colors that are associated with different brands that are expressed as color-tinted glass embedded within the more normative curtainwall-ribbon window on the other three sides of the building.”

While the design features are eye-catching, the project stands out for its unique combination of the companies involved.

“The most unique thing about the project was the combination of products and suppliers and how they blended,” says Moser.

With the perfect mix of products, the building has now been retrofitted for a new age of brand awareness and energy-conservation. The design needs of Campbell’s were met and the companies involved in the building are proud to say that they were part of making this facility, “M’m! M’m! Good!”


Katie Hodge is an assistant editor for Architects’ Guide to Glass magazine.


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