Gensler, Local Firms Tapped for Walmart Headquarters Project

(Walmart Inc.)
(Walmart Inc.)
(Walmart Inc.)
(Walmart Inc.)
(Walmart Inc.)
(Walmart Inc.)

Walmart Inc. said Wednesday that it had hired global architecture firm Gensler of San Francisco to oversee its new headquarters project in Bentonville.

Dan Bartlett, Walmart's executive vice president of corporate affairs, announced the design team that will handle the massive undertaking, which is beginning now and scheduled to open in phases beginning next year. 

The new headquarters will be located on a 350-acre tract on the east side of J Street, between Central Avenue and Highway 102.

In a blog post, Bartlett said the design team is a "blend of the best global players and the best local team" that "will result in a new Home Office that positions us for the future."

Gensler has worked on projects including Facebook's 1 million-SF headquarters in Menlo Park, California; The Washington Post offices in Washington, D.C.; and a renovation of Adobe's campus in San Jose, California.

The company recently unveiled its design for a temporary pavilion for visitors and worshippers at Notre-Dame in Paris while the cathedral, damaged by fire in April, is restored.

Gensler will lead a team that includes a local firm, Miller Boskus Lack Architects of Fayetteville, which will lead the design of the amenity buildings around campus, including the fitness center, auditorium and food hall.

Miller Boskus' projects include the 25,000-SF headquarters for NanoMech Inc. of Springdale, Champions Hall at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville; the university's 25,000-SF library storage facility; and projects for J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of Lowell, including a 133,000-SF technology center.

Another local company, CEI Engineering Associates Inc. of Bentonville, is working with Walter P Moore and Associates Inc. of Houston, which provides an array of engineering services. Bartlett said "their teams will ensure the work is executed efficiently and stays true to Walmart's Every Day Low Cost culture."

Other members of the design team are:

  • Sasaki of Watertown, Massachusetts, which will focus on an urban design for the project that Bartlett said "will be an extension of the core of downtown Bentonville."
  • SWA Group of San Francisco, a landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm. Bartlett said its plan "will preserve many trees and native species that reside" at the site "and provide the public with excellent connectivity to the Razorback Greenway."

Walmart aims to consolidate operations now spread among 20 buildings in Bentonville, including a main building at 702 SW 8th St. The company said 14,000-17,000 employees will work at the new headquarters.

Renderings of the new headquarters released in May offer a marked contrast to the retailer's current patchwork of buildings. They depict a leafy office park with lakes, trees, bike and walking paths and green space. Office buildings boast big windows allowing abundant natural light — something famously missing from the company's current configurations.

Walmart also pointed to "expanded food offerings, convenient parking, fitness options and a child care facility." There's also an emphasis on environmental sustainability and responsible energy use, with solar panels on parking decks, energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems, and regionally sourced building materials.

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