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Foster + Partners completes Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia
United States Architecture News - Oct 24, 2019 - 11:15 10489 views
Foster + Partners has completed the Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia, the 341-metre tower includes new, innovative workspaces for Comcast alongside active public spaces, that reflect the vitality of the city. The opening ceremony of the new Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia marked the completion of the Comcast Technology Center, stated the studio.
The project was realized after a series of public workshops led by acclaimed chef Greg Vernick and celebrated floral designer Jeff Leatham, among several others, in the many public spaces, cafes and restaurants within the new building.
The tower is located next to the existing Comcast Center, the Comcast Technology Center is the city’s tallest building. The Comcast Technology Center is vertically stepped, with loft-like work spaces and state-of-the-art television studios for NBC10 and Telemundo62, with a 12-story Four Seasons Hotel above. At an urban scale, the project is conceived as a welcoming addition to the neighborhood, integrated with its shops, bars and restaurants.
"The Comcast Technology Center brings together an unusual mixture of uses to create a new exemplar for the design of tall buildings. It makes a positive contribution to the surrounding urban fabric, drawing public life into the building and responding to the lively street culture of Philadelphia," said Norman Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman.
"It features Silicon Valley-style loft spaces that encourage technological innovation and collaborative ways of working, while integrating works of art with public spaces and the building fabric."
"More than 80% of the workforce arrive directly by tunnels at the lowest level connecting to Philadelphia’s public transport system – a vital part of the project’s sustainable agenda. Working alongside Brian Roberts and his talented Comcast team has been a great collaboration and we are all delighted with the outcome," Foster added.
The 1800 Arch Street site is between the residential and social hub of Rittenhouse Square and the cultural district around Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Reflecting Philadelphia’s great civic tradition of public spaces, the base of the building features a sheltered winter garden that foregrounds the main entrance.
This "urban room" combines the best elements of a lobby, a plaza and social spaces to create something completely new for residents and visitors of the city, featuring several site-specific works of art such as For Philadelphia by Jenny Holzer and Exploded Paradigm by Conrad Shawcross that animate the space.
Rising up to the upper lobby level reveals The Universal Sphere™, a structure that houses a unique cinematic experience created by Steven Spielberg for all ages, exploring the power of ideas. The sphere is wrapped in a series of interlocking panels that create an infinite geometric pattern. The Vernick Coffee Bar located alongside welcomes visitors and employees to the building, offering both a ‘grab and go’ and table service.
Greg Vernick’s restaurant, Vernick Fish, occupies the entire northern edge of the building on the ground floor, responding to the city’s active street culture. Below street level, a sheltered subterranean connection passing through the center of the building, lined with shops, works of art and seating areas, links the existing Comcast Center with the new building and the city’s subway system.
The LEED Platinum design takes advantage of the city’s pleasant climate, offering protection from the harsh winters. The building utilizes an active chilled beam system which reduces the energy loads and creates a healthier working environment.
The typical floorplate has been designed to optimize and control light levels through efficient glazing with high light transmittance and an automated blind system. Daylight penetrates into the interior spaces through triple height sky gardens. The building also features systems to ensure water efficiency with green roofs, waterless urinals and high-performance cooling towers.
The service core of vertical circulation is split, creating a visual axis through the building to Comcast Center and a clear orientation spine. This central spine is articulated at the top of the building as an illuminated blade of glass, which extends 125 feet (38 meters) high to provide a marker on the skyline.
The building’s facades are animated by panoramic glass elevators and a series of thirteen three-story sky gardens, which rise up to draw a continuous strand of active spaces through the building. The large, open floor plates are filled with daylight – each office level is equivalent in scale to twelve tennis courts. The interior is fluid and dynamic, with loft-like, highly flexible spaces designed to allow staff great freedom in choosing where and how they work.
The hotel comprises nine floors of guest rooms. The building’s circulation follows a defined pattern on every floorplate – an internal ‘street’ runs along the center from the elevators to the eastern edge, where the suites are located. Curved corners mark every room door to enhance the impression of space – a language that continues in the interior layout of the rooms.
Each one has full-height glazing, a 10-foot floor-to-ceiling clearance, walk-in wardrobes, a wall screen displaying digital art by Brian Eno, all complemented by a warm palette of materials and bronze tones. The bespoke furniture used throughout the hotel – in the public areas as well as the rooms – has been designed by the practice.
All images courtesy of Foster + Partners
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