Brandywine 6 represents an ability to create good design at an affordable price point. Through the innovative use of precast concrete, paired with close relationships with the construction group, Brandywine 6 Core & Shell was completed at an exteremly low price point.
Speculative Office Building| 68,000 SF | Chadds Ford, PA
While many projects begin with an analysis of site conditions and programmatic goals, Brandywine 6’s beginnings are a bit different. Nearly eight years ago, The Henderson Group engaged a firm (which is no longer in existence) to design a built-to-spec office building in Chadds Ford, PA. The building’s footprint and site plan were approved by the township soon after, however, due to external forces the project went on hold.
Fast forward to 2016, The Henderson Group engaged our firm to finish the project with one major constraint: the building’s footprint and site plan could not change. To make things more interesting, the approval was due to expire in July of 2016, so things needed to move quickly.
The resulting building is a 68,000 SF speculative office building sited as it was originally intended. The building’s form is a 110’ wide kinked rectangular plan which is pointed at the southernmost corner. The entrance, located in the center of the southern façade, is distinguished by a two-story curtain wall enclosing an atrium connecting the second and third floors.
It’s important to note that the project’s budget was directly tied to a predetermined leasing agreement. Due to this low budget, the most sensible construction method was found to be steel framing with a precast concrete exterior. The biggest challenge for the design team was to demonstrate that good design can be achieved at a very low price point.
Designing the Precast Panels
The precast panels were inspired by the local context – which to many of the designers’ dismay, was typical residential vinyl siding. Most interesting about vinyl siding is its plasticity, resulting in the subtle play of sunlight and shadow on blank facades. Similarly, the precast panels of Brandywine 6 are comprised of horizontal bands pulled forward at various locations across the length of the panel - as if someone were to lift the bottom edge of vinyl siding with their finger. What the design team referred to as “peaks” created a dynamic range of shadows and subtle highlights across the façade throughout the day. In an effort to keep the panels as affordable as possible, all 68 of the panels needed to be identical. This presented a patterning challenge to eliminate any obvious seems at the ends of each panel.
Photography by Jay Greene