Foster + Partners - Comcast Technology Center reflects the civic tradition of public spaces
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Comcast Technology Center reflects the civic tradition of public spaces

Foster + Partners

Office&Business  /  Completed
Foster + Partners
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.


 Liberty Property Trust
 12077010 mq
 Foster + Partners
 Foster + Partners
 L.F Driscoll
 Structural Consultant: Thornton Tomasetti, Landscape Consultant: Olin Studio, Lighting Consultant: Susan Tillotson
 Nigel Young


“Lord Norman Foster has spent his career pushing limits and inventing new ways for buildings to interact with their communities. His work around the globe is iconic; every project is distinctive and significant – and that is exactly what he has done for us. Together with his brilliant partners, Nigel Dancey and Russell Hales, and their colleagues, Norman listened intently to our goals and dreams, transforming them all into reality. We could not have made a better choice."


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