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  Chico's World Headquarters Addition, Page 44Chico's World Headquarters Addition
Gora/McGahey Associates In Architecture, 43 Barkley Circle, #202, Ft. Myers, FL 33907

Ft. Myers, Florida
Total Square Feet: 33,000
Construction Period: Feb 2000 to Jan 2001

Construction Team
General Contractor: Owen Ames Kimball Company - 11941 Fairway Lakes Drive, Ft. Myers, FL 33913
Structural Engineer: Jenkins And Charland, Inc. - 12381 South Cleveland Avenue, Ft. Myers, FL 33907
Electrical & Mechanical Engineer: TLC - 1400 Colonial Boulevard, Ft. Myers, FL 33907
Landscape Architect: David M. Jones & Associates, Inc. - 2221 McGregor Boulevard, Ft. Myers, FL 33901

Chico's FAS, Inc. is a rapidly growing, publicly traded company which had outgrown its corporate facilities. All departments needed more space and updated technology. And, the addition of e-commerce and catalog sales, created new departments, increasing space requirements.

The company designs, manufactures and sells a distinctive line of women's clothing and accessories through it's 253 stores nationwide. Material's sources and fabricators are located worldwide. In this environment, communication must be instantaneous and around the clock.

Communication and interaction between 14 departments is also critical. Programming determined that financially-oriented departments would remain in the original structure while creative departments (design, product development, marketing and product administration) were relocated to the 33,000-square-foot addition.

Departments which interact closely are located adjacent to one another. Interaction between separated departments is facilitated through the use of formal and informal gathering spaces (conference rooms, lounges, flex offices and bistros). The courtyard connecting the original building and addition is used for receptions and corporate rallies.

External communication - within the company and industry - is facilitated by a video conference center and sophisticated telecommunication and data systems.

The addition is organized around three interior avenues. Continuous light scoops bring north light into the studios and other spaces deep within the building. Natural light is pivotal in the design and fabric selection processes. Artificial light replicates the lighting used in the company's stores. Plentiful use of exterior glass is controlled by carefully placed fin walls, overhangs, and shading/reflecting devices.

The company's philosophy of using natural materials, honest and environmentally sound business practices and products is reflected in the design. The building aesthetic is primarily exposed concrete exterior and interior, expressed concrete and steel structure and exposed mechanical and electrical systems. Additional interior finishes are limited to some painted drywall and a moderate use of acoustical ceilings where sound transmission control is essential.

Chico's CEO Scott Edmonds commented, "Chico's is a unique retailer with unique facility needs. Gora/McGahey successfully met our functional requirements through their space planning of our new and existing facilities. As a designer of women's clothing, open spaces and natural lighting were critical. The architect's unique design solution creating main corridors with high windows, introducing north light into the work areas has given our headquarters order and a great atmosphere. We came together with Gora/McGahey and created an incredible building and a highly successful project."

Exterior Walls - Entrances & Storefronts: YKK AP America; Glazing: LOF.
Roof - Metal: Berridge Manufacturing; Modified: GAF.
Floors - Tile: Dal-Tile; Base: Mercer.
Interior Walls - Wood Doors: Eggers; Hardware: Schlage; Acoustical Treatment: Armstrong; Gypsum: United States Gypsum; Paint: Sherwin Williams; Toilet Partitions: Knickerbocker Specialties; Toilet Accessories: American Specialties.

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