This is a headquarters for a philanthropic organization which also has a large insurance activity. The intention of the design was to make a strong vertical statement at the entrance to New Haven from the expressway. It is, in effect, a symbolic gateway to the city and is oriented on the diagonal as a gesture to relate to the diagonal grid of local city streets across the highway.
The building has five towers: four exterior and one interior elevator tower. These towers were poured in a continuous pour of slip-form concrete and, as in the Ford Foundation, the spans between are steel. The 90-foot exterior beams are outside the building which, after considerable discussion with the fire marshal, were permitted to be installed without fireproofing.
Spanning back to the core is a series of secondary beams which are exposed within the surfaces. As the mechanical and lighting systems are all integrated into the structure, there is no false ceilings in this building; so with 13 feet from floor to floor, the ceiling height is in excess of 12 feet giving the floors, which are almost entirely occupied by open work spaces as part of the insurance operation, an open, airy feeling.
The towers at the corners contain the stairs and toilets and are clad in silo tile. This clay tile, normally used for silos in the Midwest, is approximately 12- to 13-inches square and is chamfered on top to cast a strong horizontal shadow, balancing the vertical thrust of the towers. The tiles are a dark-plum color to match the color of the weathering steel and reduce the problem of staining from the early weathering of the steel.