Codex World Headquarters / Meditech

Koetter Kim & Associates, 1986

Harleston Parker Medal, 1988

A noted writer and academic, Fred Koetter co-authored the influential "Collage City" with Colin Rowe. They advocated the use of figural open spaces and recognizable architectural elements like towers and courtyards to create a meaningful urban fabric that supported civic life. Koetter served as the Dean of the Yale School of Architecture from 1993 to 1998.

Following a decade-long controversy, permission was granted to build this 250,000 sf corporate headquarters on the site of the historic Prowse Horse Farm on the Route 128 ring road. The design marked a move away from steel and glass for corporate headquarters. The low slung red brick and granite structure acknowledges the rural context with pitched roofs, towers and pavilions, which are then composed to create a city-like ensemble. Broad expanses of glass on the outside, and a glazed winter garden on the inside, update the classical language with modern building technologies.

Finely scaled elements suggest traditional craftsmanship and a humanist corporate philosophy. The planning, design and detailing are far superior to the vast majority of historicist corporate headquarters from the 1980’s and 90’s. Perhaps the best proof of this is that the glass courtyard is sometimes used on weekends as a wedding venue.

Despite winning the battle to develop Prowse farm and build a great building, Codex’s CEO was fired soon after completion and the company went out of business.

Images: Meditech