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Developed by Rouse & Associates in 1981 and covering an entire city block, the 8-story multi-tenant office building exterior is defined by alternating bands of concrete panels and tinted strip windows. The most notable feature of the original building is the large sky-lit courtyard at its heart. Tiered office suites encircle the atrium and also extend one story below grade adjacent to a sunken courtyard.

Following a decision by the building’s major tenant to leave, Brandywine requested a complete atrium transformation to remove the original mall-like aesthetic. Their goal was to create a building interior unique within the region. The renovation was intended to reinvent underutilized space and increase tenant and employee satisfaction through the addition of more interesting and effective common spaces.

The atrium has been transformed into more than 50,000 square feet of multiuse space for tenants and visitors designed to maximize chance encounters, create opportunities for mobile work and encourage social interaction. The improved atrium also serves as a magnet for hosting public events, providing the owner with an additional revenue stream.

The design solution includes the creation of two new intermediate floor levels within the lower courtyard for expanded meeting space, a koi pond and multi-tiered waterfall, two fireplaces, a new communicating stair and complete replacement of the original landscaping. Cantilevered meeting boxes positioned at intervals along the upper atrium walls provide upper floor tenants a more direct means of experiencing the reconfigured atrium. A new parking garage was created within the building footprint by repurposing existing back-of-house service areas.

Guardrails along floor edges are reinterpreted as alternating vertical pickets of blackened and stainless steel. This same approach was used for sculptural effect in tall rod clusters to shape pathways while referencing the trunks of black bamboo installed nearby. The architectural design team used the same material palette in creating a 45ft tall sculptural tower which provides a dynamic vertical element in the 110ft tall atrium.

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1900 Market Street Atrium Renovations

  • Project Data
  • Client: Brandywine Realty Trust
  • Project Size: 50,000 SF
  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Completion Date: January 2016
  • Contractor: Whiting Turner
  • Project Team
  • Patrick McGranaghan, Mark Duckett, Chris Miller, Jessica Yoon, Jennifer Hemphill, Ryan Meillier, Rae Munroe, Matthew Peters, Stephen Freret
  • Consulting Partners
  • One Lux (Lighting), BALA (Structural, MEP), Quality Koi (Water Feature Engineering), M Cohen and Sons (Steel Fabrications), and AES (Landscape Architecture)