The following are text extracts from the IBM "Tucson Dedication 1980" booklet.
Architects designed the Tucson site to reflect [its] indigenous quality. The site's 11 main buildings, located on about 300 acres at the southeast portion of the IBM property, evoke a sense of breadth. Sandstone beige siding is lined with bands of reflective glass bordered in stainless steel to accentuate the horizontal design. The glass-steel combination exhibits surprising compatibility with the natural setting. The lines of the buildings are decidedly contemporary, conveying both strength and simplicity.
The bright blue spine running down the length of the complex is an important design element. Visually, it defines the interrelationship of the buildings, while also serving to offset their mass. Moreover, the spine's color provides a pleasing contrast to the reflective surfaces of the buildings, and the earth tones and green of the landscape.
The spine [also] serves as a distribution system for communications and utility lines (all carried overhead), and as a covered corridor for pedestrian traffic.
The focal point of the complex is the "arrival circle" and lobby of the site administration building (Building 040). Situated at the approximate midsection of the site, to the east of the spine, the central administration building features a prominent canopy-covered approach to the main lobby.
A manufacturing/development site, of course, must be designed for more than visual qualities; it must also be functional. GPD Tucson's complex embodies this feature with remarkable simplicity. Basically, the heart of the site is laid out in two grids -- one set at a 45 degree angle to the other. These grid systems represent different operations, with buildings in the system to the north used for manufacturing and materials distribution, and those within the system to the south used as administration and laboratory facilities. The central administration building serves as a logical link between the adjacent lab/administration facilities and the manufacturing/materials distribution buildings. The 46,000-square-foot cafeteria also is situated within the lab/administration grid and is central enough to make it accessible. This two-grid layout serves to bring correlating activities together.
The buildings themselves are imposing. The manufacturing/materials distribution facilities include four 220,0000-square-foot buildings located in quadrants formed by the intersection of the east-west and north-south spines. The manufacturing facilities (Buildings 020, 030 and 031) are clustered around the materials distribution center (Building 021) to accommodate manufacturing needs. Four lab/administration structures, each containing 120,000 square feet, are situated down the spine to the south.
In addition to the buildings within the two grids, several structures are located at the northern extremity of the site. They include the magnetic media building, utility plant, chemical distribution center and wastewater treatment facilities.