Where is home? That simple yet paramount question lay at the center of what would ultimately become one of the most significant changes Toyota’s North American operations had made in the past 50 years.
In 2014, Toyota announced the momentous relocation of its North American headquarters to Plano, Texas.
The Japanese automaker recognized it was time to re-envision a more connected future that would allow its North American operations to be successful for the next 50 years and beyond. The result was a commitment to bringing its entire North American workforce together under a plan known as “One Toyota.”
Throughout the process of choosing a new location and design partner, the concept of home weighed heavily on their decision, as Toyota would need to relocate thousands of people from across the country to Texas.
We knew we could create a beautiful, state-of-the-art space that could ultimately house nearly 7,000 Team Members in a light-filled and collaborative environment that fulfilled their every need.
But we also knew that in order for such a significant change to be a success, Toyota’s Team Members needed to feel at home in their new space.
And a physical space alone doesn’t make a home. Home isn’t just a building. Home is a feeling.
Here, we’ll show you how we helped Toyota North America find their home in their flagship North American headquarters in Plano, Texas.
Where nature and ingenuity meetView Story
It’s impossible to imagine any other structure existing where Toyota’s North American headquarters now stands.
Though the 2.1 million square foot, seven-building, state-of-the-art campus sits on a patch of land that was completely empty only three years ago, the buildings look and feel as if they’ve always been there.
“The headquarters wanted to be both impressive yet transparent,” says Chuck Armstrong, who served as the design director on the project.
EXPLORE THE OUTDOORS
The design encourages indoor/outdoor connections with office buildings and garden terraces that sit next to a large central court that serves as the heart of the campus.
Featuring fixed benches, moveable café tables and chairs, and canopy trees that provide an abundance of shade, the central courtyard strikes a balance of natural serenity, quiet energy and focus.
It also welcomes Team Members to crisscross it as they move around the campus or stop, flip open their laptop and work for a while next to the stream.
STAND THE TEST OF TIME
In keeping with Toyota’s commitment to making a new home that would last, longevity was a central theme of our design process.
“Our charge from Akio Toyoda was to create a place that would last for the next 50 years. We used durable regional glass, metals and stone as a response in a simple and timeless design expression,” says Chuck Armstrong.
Deeply rooted in a culture of respect for the environment, Toyota’s passion for sustainability inspired our design team to create a space that would allow the company to grow and change with its immediate surroundings for decades to come.
GIVE BACK TO NATURE
The Toyota headquarters is one of the largest LEED Platinum certified structures in the world. Through its use of sustainable materials and a sophisticated recycling and conservation system, the building gives back to the environment.
Going beyond proximityView Story
Bringing everyone together under one roof wasn’t enough.
In order to realize Toyota’s future vision for a connected workforce, its new space needed to accomplish much more than physically bringing people together in one place.
It needed to encourage Toyota’s Team Members to truly connect with each other in ways they never had before.
BE ONE TOYOTA
Introduced at the same time as the 2014 relocation announcement, the company’s “One Toyota” cultural priorities were developed so that all Toyota team members – from manufacturing, sales and marketing, corporate operations and finance – could finally be united in the way they work and collaborate.
According to Toyota, working together in an open and connected space will allow easier and more frequent interaction and information sharing, as well as help push the company forward with swift, innovative decision-making.
“HALVE” AT IT
To enable a high level of interaction and ease, the campus features a 50/50 ratio of owned workspace to shared work areas. Put into perspective, their previous space had only 10 percent of space dedicated to common areas.
Half of the campus features unique spaces for collaborative, team-based work, social interaction and amenities or wellbeing, while the other half is dedicated to individual workspace and personalized departmental support spaces.
The entire campus creates a sense of ease and encourages interaction, a critical goal identified for the design team to address.
The layout of the seven buildings around the central courtyard – connected by a wide, light filled concourse and peppered with open stairways – naturally draws you inward.
A great move forwardView Story
For Toyota, moving in is about moving forward. As the automotive industry evolves beyond manufacturing cars and trucks, Toyota has broadened its identity from an automaker to a mobility company.
In order to maintain the feeling of speed and innovation needed for future success, Toyota knew that its new headquarters needed to have a pulse of its own.
MOVE WITH EASE
Navigating through the headquarters, one experiences a natural desire not only to move forward, but also up, down, inside, outside and all around the campus.
This natural desire to move about the campus stems from the simple human truth: “Seeing is believing.”
“We don’t desire to go anywhere that we cannot see,” says Corgan interiors leader Lindsay Wilson.
FIND YOUR WAY
Intuitive wayfinding mechanisms found on the floor, in the ceiling and in the art and branding displays lead one throughout the space seamlessly. Journeying through the space, one cannot ignore how effortless, and enjoyable, getting from A to B…or to C or D really is.
DESIGN YOUR DAY
Whether from a café, the courtyard, concourse or one of the many common areas, Toyota Team Members are welcomed and empowered to “Design your day” and work from anywhere at any time.
This incredible amount of flexibility, connectivity and choice is powered by the Wi-Fi-blanketed, technology-rich campus.
The ease and flexibility to work anywhere is also enjoyed by visitors and business partners, who can easily connect anywhere indoors or outdoors.
Work, explore, discoverView Story
If these buildings could talk, they’d have a lot to say.
Many companies espouse the values of their culture, their people and their perks. But a brief walk through Toyota’s headquarters really says it all.
“You can’t walk in here and not feel the value that Toyota places on its Team Members. It’s just not possible,” says Corgan interiors leader Lindsay Wilson.
Toyota’s tremendous care and respect for its Team Members inspired our team’s focus on the everyday experience of working in the space.
The Toyota headquarters feels first and foremost like a place of learning and discovery instead of the typical corporate headquarters. At the forefront, are the Company’s newest vehicles and inventions instead of cubicles and conference rooms. Within the first few feet of stepping on campus, one immediately feels and can embrace the personality of Toyota.
CIRCLE THE AMENITIES LOOP
Moving further throughout the campus, one naturally happens upon cafes, lounge areas, meeting rooms and dining spaces featuring natural light and greenery.
This area is called the “Amenities Loop,” and features a number of different zones that include dining options, a fitness area, a bank and credit union, conference centers and work environments.
The spaces between these areas are peaceful and serene, and all of the amenities are unique and thoughtfully located to avoid the feeling of uniformity or mass production.
DISCOVER SMALL SURPRISES
Small surprises are purposefully placed around every corner, allowing for pleasant discoveries constantly throughout the day.
The campus has a hidden “off stage” area, similar to something that a hotel or theme park would have, where all of the operational aspects related to maintaining the building are done out of sight.
The sophisticated back-of-house system also allows for the entire space to be home to a beautiful, convenient, tailored experience.