Kia Motors’ U.S. Corporate Campus Honored with “Good Design is Good Business Award” by Architectural Record


Custom-Built Facilities for the Fastest-Growing Auto Brand in the U.S. Recognized for Contribution to Quality-of-Life, Community Outreach and Sustainability

  • Kia is one of eight companies to receive a 2012 “Good Design is Good Business Award” celebrating architecture as a vehicle to enhance a company’s bottom line

  • The 21.7 acre Kia corporate campus a $130-million investment was designed by Skidmore, Owings Merrill LLP, the first firm to receive Architectural Record’s Good Design is Good Business Lifetime Achievement Award
  • IRVINE, Calif., April 30, 2012 – Kia Motors America (KMA), the fastest-growing car company in the United States1, celebrates another prestigious architectural accolade, as the KMA Corporate Headquarters and state-of-the-art Kia Design Center America (KDCA) in Irvine, California have been honored with the “Good Design is Good Business Award” by Architectural Record. In its 15th year, the award celebrates architecture as a vehicle to enhance the company’s bottom line and the architect/client collaborations responsible for them that prioritize quality of life, community outreach and sustainability to achieve their goals. Judging parameters included sustainability, work environment, employee recruitment, retention, performance and productivity, branding, culture, development of new work tools, and space for amenities like exercise facilities. As part of the honor, Kia’s corporate campus will be featured in the May issue of Architectural Record.


    Kia Racing seeks third-straight podium finish and points lead at the Kia 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.–>

    Representing a total investment of $130 million, the 21.7 acre campus was designed by Skidmore, Owings Merrill LLP. The 239,000-square-foot modern glass and steel main structure features two administrative office and research buildings connected by an expansive entry and vehicle display area topped by executive offices. Other common spaces are organized around the light-filled public space that links the entry to a 36,000 square-foot reflecting pool and views to the hills beyond. The state-of-the-art, 100,700-square-foot U.S. design center features a covered entry and extensive design and modeling studios, workshops and presentation rooms. Both buildings are integrated with landscaping and parking areas to create a cohesive campus prominently visible to drivers on the adjacent Interstate 5.

    KMA was one of the first companies in Irvine to voluntarily install an eco-friendly bioswale system in its parking lot to remove silt and pollution from surface water runoff. The landscaping features drought-resistant plants, and reclaimed water is used for landscaping irrigation and toilets. SOM provided full-service architecture and interior design. The team also included Nabih Youssef, structural engineers; MEP engineers; Tom Leader, Landscape architect, and PBQA, lighting designers. The property is managed by RiverRock Real Estate Group, Inc.

    “As the fastest growing automotive brand in the U.S. Kia is committed to providing cutting-edge vehicles with world-class design, and our Corporate Headquarters and Design Center reflect that same philosophy,” said John Yoon, vice president of human resources/administration and general counsel, KMA. “The corporate campus symbolizes innovation through leading architectural design, as well as Kia’s ongoing commitment to the U.S. market, which has led to our record-breaking sales and market share increases.”

    The campus also features a state-of-the-art workout facility with the latest equipment and with exercise classes offered to employees during the day, as well as an on-site cafeteria and lunchroom. The Multi-purpose room found in the lobby area also is available to community groups as a meeting or event function space when not in use by KMA.

    KMA and KDCA previously were recognized with “The Outstanding Building of the Year” (TOBY) award for corporate facility from the Orange County chapter of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), an Award of Excellence from the American Institute of Architects’ Orange County chapter (AIAOC), and also recognized on the 2009 International Architecture Awards List, presented by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and Metropolitan Arts Press Ltd.

    Exemplifying “Good Design is Good Business,” Kia’s U.S. sales are up 31.8 percent year-to-date, while March marked the brand’s 19th straight monthly sales record with 80 percent of sales in March, including vehicles that achieve more than 30 highway miles per gallon2.

    “Kia Motors’ U.S. corporate campus proves that thoughtful, rational design can be a powerful engine for business growth and talent retention,” said Brian Lee, Design Partner, SOM. “The project exemplifies SOM’s commitment to provide our clients with high-performance design that adds value to their brand and expresses their corporate identity.”

    Architecture and design has become a top priority for leaders of business and industry looking to rebrand, boost productivity, and attract customers. The Architectural Record Good Design is Good Business (GDGB) Awards program honors the architects and clients who best utilize design to achieve such strategic objectives. For more information, visit: Architectural Record.

    Kia’s Unprecedented Growth
    Kia Motors is one of the world’s fastest moving global automotive brands; from 2009-2011 Kia launched more new vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker, and under the guidance of chief design officer Peter Schreyer earned a reputation as an industry leader in automotive styling. Kia Motors America’s full line of fuel-efficient and fun-to-drive cars and CUVs has earned critical acclaim and dramatically increased consumer awareness, perception and consideration for the brand. In 2011, KMA recorded its 17th consecutive year of market share growth, thanks in part to the largest increase of any major brand in perceived quality3 and the industry’s highest brand loyalty ranking4. Kia’s U.S.-based manufacturing facility in West Point, Georgia KMMG is responsible for the creation of more than 10,000 plant and supplier jobs and builds the company’s two best-selling vehicles in the U.S. the Sorento CUV and Optima midsize sedan5. Kia’s value-and technology-laden 2012 model year lineup also includes the Sportage compact CUV, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Optima Hybrid, Forte compact sedan, Forte 5-door compact hatchback, Forte Koup two-door coupe, all-new Rio and Rio 5-door sub-compacts and Sedona minivan.

    About Kia Motors America
    Kia Motors America is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 755 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the “Official Automotive Partner” of the NBA and LPGA. In 2011, KMA recorded its best-ever annual sales total and became one of the fastest growing car companies in the U.S. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, advanced safety features and new technologies.

    Information about Kia Motors America and its full vehicle line-up is available at its website For media information, including photography, visit

    About SOM
    Skidmore, Owings Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban-planning firms in the world, with a 75-year reputation for design excellence and a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its inception, SOM has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with more than 1,500 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Awardin 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai and Abu Dhabi.

    1 Based on 5-year cumulative growth between 12-month retail sales for periods ending March 2007 and March 2012 of all U.S. automotive brands.
    2 EPA Estimated. Actual mileage will vary with options, driving conditions, driving habits, and your vehicle’s condition.
    3 Source: Automotive Lease Guide Spring 2011 Perceived Quality Study
    4 Source: Experian Automotive Q2 2011 market analysis
    5 The Optima GDI (EX Trims and certain LX Trims only) and GDI Turbo are assembled in the United States from U.S. and globally sourced parts.

    Leave a Comment