- Clients:Lowe Enterprises
- Collaborators:Contractor: Whiting-Turner Contracting
- Country:United States
Text description provided by the architects. Years before Amazon selected metropolitan Washington DC’s Crystal City neighborhood (now known as National Landing) for their HQ2, FOX Architects saw the potential for revitalizing this outdated and underutilized neighborhood. Comprised of partially vacant buildings constructed in the 1960s-1980s, developers and community members had long debated how to revitalize the neighborhood. FOX Architects envisioned a sustainable path to urban renewal through the practice of building recycling, exemplified in 1400 Crystal Drive: a 1968 structure transformed into a 310,000 SF, LEED Gold Certified, state-of-the-art office building. The existing building had many issues that needed to be addressed in order to update it for modern workplace needs and integrate it into a next-generation community setting. The goals were to transform the dated office building by weaving together old and new building systems through the original post-tension structure and to make the plazas and lobby more pedestrian and community oriented. By increasing daylight in the interior, adding square footage and amenities, and improving interior planning, the vision was to sustainably create a new, usable building instead of razing the old structure.
The building’s transformation began with being stripped down to its original structure, re-massed with new steel slab extensions, and clad in a new glass curtainwall facade. This new facade allows more light into the interior and creates extended views of the Potomac River and Washington, DC, while updating what was previously a boxy, unrelenting presence. Exposed structural armatures support curtainwall extensions and express the tension between the original frame and the new envelope. This emphasis on the new building’s lightness and verticality contributes to an open, welcoming atmosphere at the street level, fostering a sense of community. A new, engaging building entry and public plaza was created by relocating the entry from a dark, central alcove, extending the existing building lobby to the corner, and moving the parking and loading to a less prominent location.
Along with exterior systems, interior renovations improve wellness and productivity. The renovated central core enhances interior planning and increases the number of corner offices. A new DOAS (Dedicated Outdoor Air System) HVAC was weaved throughout the existing structure to increase the quality of the work environment by providing better air quality, higher ceilings, and greater energy efficiency. New amenity spaces that promote wellness include a rooftop terrace overlooking the river and capital, and a luxury fitness center.