BIG’s battleship-inspired LEED Gold office opens in Philadelphia

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Bjarke Ingel Group’s first Philadelphia building just opened its doors at 1200 Intrepid Avenue in the city’s Navy Yard. The dramatic building features a double-curved facade that mimics the shape of the area’s historic battleships. The striking design earned LEED Gold certification thanks to the façade’s precast concrete panels that improve energy efficiency through their dense mass.

Located at the Navy Yard Corporate Center, the four-story office building design was shaped by Robert Stern’s 1,200-acre Navy Yard master plan of rectangular city blocks and James Corner Field Operations’ award-winning circular Central Green Park. The building’s double-curved facade bows inward on two sides in reference to the docked battleships nearby and to respond to the “shock wave” of the park’s circular running track. In addition to the maritime-inspired facade, a functioning periscope is inserted in the heart of the building to project views of the Navy Yard basin into the center of the elevator lobby and to bring in additional natural light.

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“In many cases, architects design big, boxy buildings that could be placed anywhere and don’t connect directly to the site,” said Kai-Uwe Bergmann, AIA, RIBA, Partner, BIG. “You would really be hard-pressed to place 1200 Intrepid anywhere else, due to how it connects with its surroundings. Our commission involved creating a speculative office building, for which no tenants were committed. The key challenge here was to create a reason for tenants to be here with the constraint of a stringent budget.”

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