Efficiency Drove Design of eBay’s New Draper Campus


Photos by Dana Sohm, Sohm Photogrfx

By Brad Fullmer

Utah is rapidly earning major chops nationwide among giant tech-savvy companies as a place that offers a business-friendly environment, prompting firms to construct new multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art buildings as part of their future growth.

eBay Inc. is the latest renowned global tech company to build such a facility in the Beehive State with the recent completion of its new campus in Draper, which consists of two buildings.

The 36-acre campus was designed by the San Francisco office of architecture and engineering firm SmithGroupJJR, and constructed by Okland Construction of Salt Lake City. The main office or “Marketplaces” building is a three-story, 188,835 SF facility highlighted by an open office environment, 37 conference rooms and other support spaces. The ‘Community’ building is a single story, 52,260 SF building that features a 400-seat, high-tech auditorium, six large training rooms, a 300-seat dining area, a gym, coffee bar and gift shop. The two facilities were designed to accommodate eBay’s growing population of 1,800 employees, with the campus located near a UTA FrontRunner train station, making it a transit-oriented development.

Von Seetharaman, head of Global Design & Construction at eBay Inc., said the new campus is a major boon to the company and will allow for future growth expansion as needed. eBay opened its first Utah office in 1999 and appreciates the state’s strong economy and diverse, educated workforce.

“The talent pool and a very well educated workforce, along with Utah’s proximity to San Jose makes Utah a very desirable location for eBay said Seetharaman. “With our state-of-the-art data center in South Jordan and this new campus in Draper, Utah has become an eBay Inc. ‘Center of Excellence’ for the company’s greener operations.”

“The goal was to create a modern and elegant LEED Gold building that would be respectful of its surrounding environment and provide a healthy workplace for eBay’s employees.” – Matt Smialek, Lead Designer for SmithGroupJJR.”

Energy efficiency and employee well-being were paramount to eBay, with the buildings being designed to conform to a minimum LEED Gold certification. Seetharaman said it was essential for all employees to have views of the exterior with copious amounts of daylighting entering the building, which features a highly-efficient curtain wall system featuring Viracon that includes VUE-1-50 low-e coated insulated glass with low interior and exterior light reflectance properties which offer great visibility from both the inside out and outside in. One of the major benefits of this product, according to curtain wall installer Steel Encounters, Inc. of Salt Lake City, is the solar performance of the glass, which has a .25 solar heat gain coefficient value, making it one of the highest performing clear low-e products in the market.

“The goal was to create a modern and elegant LEED Gold building that would be respectful of its surrounding environment and provide a healthy workplace for eBay’s employees,” said Matt Smialek, Lead Designer for SmithGroupJJR. “We selected an extremely efficient curtain wall system to maximize vision panels for views of the surrounding mountains and landscape. During the day, the glass curtain wall reflects the mountains and sky that are constantly changing with the seasons. At night, the transparent building showcases the constant activities within and highlights the core walls that are branded with the eBay colors.”

Construction of the two new buildings, was completed in just 11 months, from site grading, to core and shell construction to interior fit out. Brian Murphy, Senior Project Manager for Okland, said the condensed schedule offered numerous challenges to construction crews throughout the project.

“The schedule alone was probably the biggest challenge, but otherwise it was a great project for us,” said Murphy. “The site offered plenty of space for material staging and all our subs worked well together.”

“We hired the consultants and general contractor early on and worked hand-in-hand with the collective group,” said Seetharaman. “It’s impressive to consider that Okland was able to complete the project a month ahead of time.”

Seetharaman said another unique element of the project was an inside-out design approach, where the CS furniture was selected first, with the building designed around it. An 18-inch raised access floor with under floor cooling allows optimum flexibility for employees to locally control airflow in their work environments, and includes air, power and data distribution. Smialek added that the open office environment with a column-free open plan with high ceilings was of major importance.

Additional elements of the project were described by Chris Krahn, project architect for SmithGroupJJR. The structural system is a steel frame, with a combination moment frame and brace frame system. Braces are concealed in the core of the office building; connections on the moment frame are primarily bolted rather than welded, which saved time with construction and inspection.

Other sustainable features include water saving plumbing fixtures designed to reduce water use by 35 percent, Dark Sky compliant parking lot fixtures, optimized energy performance designed to reduce energy use by 30 percent, a highly efficient HVAC system that uses evaporative cooling, energy saving light fixtures, and materials that contain over 40 percent recycled content.

Project Team

Owner: eBay Inc.

Architect: SmithGroupJJR, San Francisco

GC: Okland Construction, SLC

Civil: SmithGroupJJR, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Electrical: SmithGroupJJR, Phoenix

Mechanical: SmithGroupJJR, Phoenix

Structural: Rutherford & Chekene, San Francisco

Mechanical Contractor: J&S Mechanical, Draper

Electrical Contractor: Rydalch Electric, SLC

Grading/Excavation: Hadco, Lehi

Structural Steel Fabricator: Tech-Steel, Clearfield

Structural Steel Erection: Sure Steel, South Weber

Roofing: All Weather Roofing, SLC

Curtainwall/Glazing: Steel Encounters Inc., SLC

Framing/Drywall: Houghton Plaster, Orem

Painting: CDR Painting, Draper

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