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Zurich North America's new headquarters opens for business

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The building features a unique “three bar” cantilevered design and achieves LEED Platinum certification

Swiss-based Zurich Insurance Group has officially welcomed its roughly 3,000 employees to its newly opened North American headquarters located in suburban Schaumburg. Comprised of three stacked and offset "bars," a 783,800-square-foot, henge-like office building anchors the firm’s 40-acre campus. Designed by Chicago-based architect Goettsch Partners, this unique layout offers better views, sunlight, and flexible programming options compared to traditional center-core offices.

"The building defines a bold new image for Zurich," said Goettsch principal Paul De Santis who served as lead designer for the project. "The building’s open nature — inside and out — allows employees to interact and engage with each other in ways that were never possible in their previous facility." Zurich North America moved from a pair of 21-story towers located adjacent to the nearby Woodfield shopping mall.

The entire campus was designed with sustainability specifically in mind. Working with Goettsch, interior architect CannonDesign, landscape designer Hoerr Schaudt and sustainability consultant Thornton Tomasetti incorporated elements like multiple green roofs, high performance facades, rainwater harvest and re-use systems, automated solar shades, and natural prairie landscaping. These green features combined to earn the project LEED Platinum certification.

Zurich’s new HQ represents metro Chicago’s largest single-tenant office project since Tellabs moved to a new 800,000 square-foot Naperville campus in 2001. At a time when many suburban corporate campuses appear to be going the way of the dinosaur, the insurance company’s new facility presents a striking counterpoint, arguing that such developments still have a vital role to play in the 21st century.