Revitalizing an Industry Leader’s Corporate Headquarters

Principal Tiffany English of Ware Malcomb’s San Diego office authored Revitalizing an Industry Leader’s Corporate Headquarters, originally featured in CoreNet’s The LEADER magazine.

“Global. Innovative. Trusted.” reflects the driving force behind Cubic Corporation’s established international presence and six decades of industry leadership in the transportation and defense industries.

Founded in Point Loma, California in 1951, Cubic Corporation designs, integrates and operates systems, products and services focused in the transportation, defense training and secure communications markets.

Assessing the Situation

Cubic’s San Diego operations are spread between three locations with some of the buildings dating back to the 1950’s. The need for consolidation and overall campus modernization is imminent due to underinvestment in the facilities throughout their lifetime.

Ware Malcomb was hired to provide overall master planning services at the onset of planning to analyze the existing locations and provide feasibility studies to weigh different options for consolidation. After the master planning studies and standards development were completed, Cubic decided to create a new, modern prototypical workplace environment for employees. The standards were developed to provide design consistency throughout the campus and streamline efficient design solutions.

Real Estate Strategy

The real estate strategy behind Cubic’s campus modernization of their corporate headquarters arose from a desire to consolidate their three San Diego sites, totaling approximately 500,000 square feet into one campus and increasing density by 25-30%. The objective is to deliver a work environment respecting cost and shareholder value, while creating a modern, efficient workplace. Through consolidating operations, Cubic can streamline operational processes, improve communication and cross pollination, and renew and emphasize their brand and cultural identity.

Ware Malcomb’s Interior Design and Branding Studios led the visioning and programming sessions. Cubic sought to develop a prototype to study and understand their employee needs and workspace requirements. Meetings were held with Cubic leaders and employee focus groups to define elements most important in the design of their new work environment.

The design development was fueled by the results of the visioning sessions. From the sessions, key attributes desired by employees included access to natural light and a modern design aesthetic with impactful colors. Another significant finding from the sessions was the desire for an open, collaborative culture integrated with quiet heads down workspace.

As part of the prototype phase, the standards were implemented to provide Cubic with the opportunity to test them. The standards addressed suite and departmental entries, branding and wayfinding, meeting and amenity spaces, and work stations and private offices. Many of these spaces were designed and sized based on a modular footprint to be able to adjust to changing business needs.

The Prototype

The prototype was created to be studied over the next year to understand Cubic employee habits, their likes/dislikes and any realized efficiencies created through this new environment. The objective was to analyze the new standards and implement refinements, based on observations of its effectiveness in the year following.  These enhanced standards would then be applied to the next phase of the campus modernization.

Since Cubic project teams continuously change, the interior spaces need some flexibility to accommodate their workflow. As a result, the new 13,000 square foot prototype office space expands and contracts depending on the need through the selected furniture solutions. The furniture was key to creating the flexible work environment catering to different requirements.  Demountable glass walls were used to allow physical separation while maintaining a visual connection and support change without reconfiguration.

The transition from a generic, closed office environment to a more open, modern office design was enhanced by new graphics and technology solutions to improve global employee communication. Throughout the space, impressive supersize graphics pay homage to the military and defense elements that is one of Cubic’s core business.

The project team successfully revived the space and created a new interior standard for Cubic. The team created a design communicating the Cubic brand of “Global. Innovative. Trusted.” and reflecting its successful history.

The Results

After the prototype project was completed, Ware Malcomb participated in follow up meetings with a focus group of Cubic employees. These employees occupied the new space and were responsible for gathering and providing feedback from colleagues. Overall, they were very enthusiastic about the prototype’s results and the positive impact the new workplace had on efficiency, usability and morale. “Engaging Cubic employees in the modernization process was and continues to be essential as we update our work environment from the large office footprints we once had to smaller, more flexible and collaborative space,” says Joy Hagin, Corporate Director of Facility Services at Cubic.

Cubic, Ware Malcomb and Unisource Solutions worked together in the follow up meetings to gather and analyze the prototype data. The Interior Design team looked at potential cost savings and reevaluated the different types of meeting spaces based on the usage behaviors of the prototype space. Because the focus group results showed a continued need for different sized informal/formal meeting spaces, the team implemented slight modifications to the design. The prototype was updated for use going forward in the future phases of the Cubic campus modernization.

Looking Forward

The prototype phase set the stage for the renovation phases to begin within Cubic’s Building 8. This building is approximately 100,000 square feet and has been divided into three phases, with Phase 1 currently under construction.

The most significant factor working on Cubic’s campus modernization is the team collaboration between Ware Malcomb, the engineers, the general contractor, and Cubic’s in-house construction and facilities team. Their team was intimately involved with the project to retrofit a very old building. The Cubic team was instrumental in identifying as-built conditions, supporting the transitions, and working with the mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering team to come up with the most efficient solutions. This was key to establishing long term real estate value for Cubic’s facilities.

The effort put forward to create a tried, tested and true prototype working environment proved Cubic’s dedication to their employees by creating a new cohesive, modern and efficient workplace truly supporting their needs.

Revitalizing the campus not only enhances real estate value, but will also provide Cubic with added benefits concerning recruitment, retention and marketability. Having a new campus environment to attract potential clients and high quality employees is significant to their operations and will secure their continued industry leadership in decades to come.

With over 45 years of design experience, Ware Malcomb continues to raise the bar in design utilizing the latest office trends and alternative workplace strategies that enhance the workplace environment while providing value to our clients.  Ware Malcomb is committed to continually innovate and push the limits of design from a creative, visual and technical perspective.  To view our interiors portfolio, please visit our website.