The Swiss Re Headquarters building is orientated on an east-west axis to take full advantage of the southern sun and prevailing winds from the northwest. Because of the dramatic contours of the site, what is apparently a three-story building when approached from the street actually houses conference centers, employee dining, and other support functions under the east wing and three additional office levels under the west wing.
The building has been designed to provide all employees with access to daylight and fresh air. The building makes maximum use of renewable energy sources and visually connects every workspace to the surrounding natural environment. Office space is arranged in 70-foot lease spans with operable windows on the north and a three-story linear atrium on the south. The atrium opens to the north above the roof and is designed to draw in air through the north wall and across the office floor on the temperate days in the spring and fall, and to collect and recirculate heat generated by the low southern sun in the winter. Exterior sunscreens shade the atrium glass in the summer when the sun is high in the sky, but permit light from the low winter sun. Light shelves are provided along the southern edge of the office areas to bring natural daylight as far as possible into the usable floor area.