Rayonier Corporate Headquarters
The guiding principles and rich history of timber and land management leader Rayonier, Inc. led to the creation of a very personal architectural expression for their new Headquarters that is unique to the company’s story, while deeply rooted in NE Florida Low Country architecture and culture.
When Rayonier decided to develop a key land holding into a township called Wildlight, Florida, to be successful, the company headquarters had to be its centerpiece, expressing commitment to the idea and region. Located ten miles inland from the Atlantic east coast and just seven miles from the Georgia border where transplanted palms meet thousands of acres of pines, Wildlight would be a reflection of the unique nature of the Atlantic Coastal Low Country, a region running from Jacksonville to the Carolinas. It could not be a stylized version of the Gulf Coast towns most associate with Florida.
Our challenge was to create a headquarters in this place that would set an authentic tone for Wildlight, but more importantly, enhance the company’s new philosophy of “One Rayonier”, where people, from lumberjacks to executives, would all be consolidated and treated as equals under one roof, building relationships that foster innovation through collaboration. Just as critical, this headquarters had to meet a key company principle, value, by not exceeding the cost of multiple existing office leases, which resulted in a budget of less than $200 per sf.
Research uncovered rich parallels between low country geography, authentic regional coastal structures, and Rayonier’s history and desired philosophy. Based on the idea of the “Big Shed”, the resulting architecture distills Rayonier’s story into a physical, site sensitive narrative reflecting the Low Country’s water shed, drawing primarily on early utilitarian timber sawmills and agricultural buildings that express the virtues of simplicity.
One Rayonier’s major theme, community, is manifested in the arrangement of free standing constituent communal forms and spaces within the building under the big shed, all naturally lit by clerestories. A linear circulation path emulates the movement of wood through a saw mill along a central spine. Three collaboration towers are clad with three primary Rayonier woods (pine, cedar, and cypress) displaying a key resource. Conventional break areas are combined into one expressive larger café, affectionately dubbed “Uncle Ray’s” by staff, and located in the most prominent loft position overlooking the lake. The main lobby acts as a community theater, on display under the shed, that physically opens to a civic plaza/muse to bring the outside in. An iconic wood sunscreen protects the space, while echoing natural wood patterns. Bridging corporation to town, the space states Rayonier’s desire to be a community pillar…and a civic partner.
“One Rayonier” is a large shed in the woods where the palms meet the pines, and a transformative architecture that has infused a corporate culture with a Low Country style.