Photograph Copyright Serge Melki
The Pyramids were constructed between 1967 and 1972 by the College Life Insurance Company who were rapidly expanding and sought to accommodate its growing staff while providing for anticipated expansion. It decided on a plan by Kevin Roche consisting of nine identical office towers each eleven stories tall and each containing 120,000 square feet. This would permit it to build towers as it needed additional office space without leaving buildings idle or underused. Only the initial three towers were constructed and take the form of pyramids.
Each tower is made up of two walls of reinforced concrete from which project the unobstructed office floors. Those concrete walls provide the support for the floors as well as serving as L-shaped service cores.The other two walls are covered in blue exterior glass and each building is connected to the others via underground and above-ground passages. Since they were originally constructed, the College Life Insurance Company has left the buildings and they are now used by various companies.
“The usual specification of in-built expansion options here led to the conception of nine office towers, three of which were completed during the first construction phase. They stand as autonomous bodies in slightly offset alignment, connected via bridges and tunnels. Their deep blue glass faÂades ‘lean’ against solid-looking concrete slabs containing utility and service rooms.”
“” Peter Gossel and Gabriele Leuthauser. Architecture in the Twentieth Century. p303.
“The company needed office space which could be expanded in reasonably sized increments. A plan was developed for nine separate buildings, eleven stories in height and containing approximately 120,000 square feet each. The first three of these buildings are constructed. They are connected underground by basements and aboveground by bridges. The cores and service areas form two solid walls of each building, allowing the floor space to be free of obstructions.
“The structure is reinforced concrete with flat slab floors supported on a 30 foot by 30 foot grid of columns. The luminous ceiling turns down at the outside wall, allowing daylight to penetrate into the ceiling void and mingle with the fluorescent light.”
“” from Yukio Futagawa, ed. Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo, and Associates, 1962-1975. p164.