PepsiCo headquarters is the real thing


The grounds of PepsiCo headquarters in Purchase, NY are an amazing marriage between art, architecture and the landscape. This particular cola company’s headquarters is very different from the one in my hometown of Atlanta, whose urban campus really doesn’t have much to offer in terms of environmental design. Pepsi’s campus is pastoral and accessible by the public who go there to see the extensive gardens and the scupture collection, which is one of the largest in the U.S.

The grounds were designed by a father and son team: Edward Durrell Stone and Edward Durrell Stone, Jr. The father was the architect, and you can immediately see he was inspired by modernism and Frank Lloyd Wright. I had the honor of meeting the son–who passed away last month–a couple of years ago while working on the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai. Trained as a pilot in the Air Force, his design philosophy focused on natural beauty.


I’ve collaborated with his firm–EDSA–for over 21 years on projects in the U.S., Dubai, and Korea. As Edward Jr. got older, his disciples took over the firm and have carried on his fine legacy in desiging resorts around the world.

The Pepsi headquarters was the only project I’m aware of on which the father and son collaborated. The environment is amazing. The buildings are powerful yet unassuming amidst the landscape, where there’s some great experimental use of prairie grasses. They cluster around a center court with 3 different gardens, each of which has its own spacial personality. A road goes around the property, placing the buildings in the core and parking around the outside–no one sees cars, only see landscape. A French gardener comes in once a year to give the landscape a tune-up.


Most stunning is the internationally recognized Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens, filled with pieces by Moore, Brancusi, Calder, and even Eskimo totems–a great mix of classical, modern, and folk art. Former PepsiCo chairman Don Kendall worked with the design team to create the gardens that still bear his name. I think he may even still have an office on-site.

pepsi_lilyThe variety of outdoor spaces on the site is amazing. There’s a rectangular lily pond recessed around a small yard with a Classical-type temple face at the far end. Some of the other areas contain more industrial-looking pieces, while still others appear more organic. Despite the large number of different pieces, none of the areas feels cluttered or cramped.

I highly recommend a visit.

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply