RGA Headquarters

Cafeteria at RGA headquarters. Photo by Fox Architects.

Posted by Sam Fox School August 17, 2015


The development of the new world headquarters for the Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated—better known as RGA—was no small undertaking. Completed in 2014, the 405,000-square-foot facility sits on a 17-acre site in Chesterfield, MO, and consists of two five-story office towers as well as an additional 580,000 square feet of parking.

A project of that magnitude required close coordination between the firms charged with its execution. Fox Architects, a St. Louis-based firm that has worked with RGA for more than 20 years, served as the architect of record for the interiors portion of the project and also served as the design consultant on the project. Gensler's Chicago office was responsible for the Core and Shell design.

Those collaborations extended to three Sam Fox School alumni working on the project for the two firms.

Martin Padilla (MArch01) and Ben Paisley (MArch06) of Fox Architects worked on all levels of the interior, office, and amenity spaces. Padilla played a particularly important role in the interior design for the overall public spaces, while Paisley helped spearhead the collaboration process between the two offices, ensuring the overall intent of the design met the client's requirements. Representing Gensler, Stephen Katz (MArch93) worked on all levels of the exterior core and shell design, and his expertise proved particularly crucial in helping the team deal with site and seismic issues for the building.

"The ease of collaboration between Fox Architects and Gensler was aided by both firms' histories as interiors firms that grew to include exterior architecture," said Padilla, who also serves as the School's assistant director of career development for architecture. "We were able to team together to design the building from the inside out. The experience and expertise of both teams complemented each other and existed in harmonious relationship that ultimately benefited the owner."

About the Project

The RGA world headquarters complex consists of two five-story office towers linked by a two-story base containing lobby and amenity space. The modern glass and steel towers signify RGA's international reach, while the stone base recalls an outcropping of the Missouri bluffs and represents the company's strong local knowledge and roots.

The building is integrated into the landscape in a way that minimizes its impact on local ecosystems. The base and towers are arranged in a manner that takes advantage of solar orientation, maximizes scenic views of the surrounding landscape, and provides safe pedestrian movement throughout the project.

The interior architecture is designed to clearly delineate public and private spaces, and to arrange those spaces to accommodate RGA's culture and workflow. For example, conference rooms are located next to elevators, copy areas, and other public spaces to avoid disrupting employee workstations. Central conference, break, and social spaces are available to all employees, while dedicated conference rooms adjacent to departments are only for those workers.

The interior space is also designed to capture daylight. The lobby floor opens up to flood the cafeteria on the lower level with natural light. An open-plan workstation orientation and select locations for offices on the glass also maximize daylight. In addition, daylight harvesting is incorporated in to the building's automation system. Photocells tied to light fixtures near the windows link to the building automation system, which adjusts window shades and lighting on workstations.

Exterior, RGA headquarters. Photo by Fox Architects.

Entry lobby, RGA headquarters. Photo by Fox Architects.

Break area, RGA headquarters. Photo by Fox Architects.