BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

Project: BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Office Headquarters
Chattanooga, Tennessee
950,000 SQ FT plus structured parking

Year Completed: June 2009

Project Partners: Owner - BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST)
Development Manager - Jones Lang LaSalle
Design Architect - Duda/Paine Architects
Architect of Record - HKS, Inc.
Interiors - TVS Design

LEED Certification: LEED Gold (LEED NC v2.2)

Project Summary: When BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST) decided to consolidate its operations into a single headquarters, the company recognized an opportunity to create a new culture of health, geared towards improving employee lifestyle behaviors and reducing demand for health care utilization. The design values for the new headquarters drew upon input from employee surveys in order to better determine the key elements of a healthy and sustainable workplace. Design was also significantly influenced by the organization’s understanding that physical and visual access to nature play a role in overall well-being.

At the new site overlooking downtown Chattanooga, five buildings radiate outward from a central plaza, which provides a shaded recreational space and an origin point for the network of running and walking trails on the campus. The design includes a range of green spaces, gardens, and winding walking paths between buildings providing employees added space to be active or enjoy quiet space. Such amenities reinforce the importance of a well-designed, walk-able environment for employees and visitors alike. BCBST sought to emphasize a sense of connectivity to Chattanooga as a whole, and incorporated a shuttle bus system to the downtown area that enhances access to the site. Access to the shuttle bus increases the ability of building occupants to move about the greater Chattanooga area freely.

Since opening in 2009, the headquarters has developed several wellness programs for its employees, which complement the organization’s investments in active physical spaces. These include a pedometer-based walking program that automatically sends data to an online health portal, diverse exercise classes, weight watchers group meetings, and other social support groups. From 2009 to 2013, the campus fitness center increased its employee utilization by 250 percent. From 2008 to 2011, the percentage of employees achieving the recommended amount of moderate exercise each week increased from 44.7% in 2008 to 67.1% in 2011. The design team and project partners have been successful in creating the foundations for a culture of healthy living and support for improved employee lifestyles.

Active Design Highlights:

  1. Each building has a uniquely designed staircase that differs from all others on campus, assisting with wayfinding and strengthening the identity of each building. These staircases are located at the end of primary building circulation paths and are wider than required by code, making them both inviting and open to outdoor views.
  2. Sky bridges and canopied walkways connect the buildings, offering options for circulation at different elevations both inside and outside and promoting connectivity throughout the campus.
  3. A variety of landscaped garden spaces between the buildings enhance access to healthy food and serve as on-site recreation facilities. These interstitial areas include vegetable gardens, orchards, an on-site farmers market; a forest with shaded pathways, seating, and a pond; and a ‘great lawn’ for gatherings and outdoor events.
  4. An indoor fitness center offers an array of activities and programs. It is strategically located to connect directly with the campus network of outdoor walking and running paths.
  5. An on-site dining facility focuses on healthy eating and offers cooking demonstrations for its users.

More information about this project can be found here.

  • User Side Images Image 236
    On campus vegetable gardens supports access to nutritious foods; Image courtesy of DudaPaine Architects.
  • User Side Images Image 237
    The bus shuttle system supports employee access to downtown Chattanooga; Image courtesy of DudaPaine Architects.
  • User Side Images Image 238
    BCBST provides Actiped wireless pedometers that connect to an online tracker, making it easier for employees to track and improve their exercise progress; Image courtesy of DudaPaine Architects.