Best Tall Building 300-399 meters Award of Excellence: Comcast Technology Center, Philadelphia

John Gattuso
Senior Vice President & Regional Director
Liberty Property Trust, Philadelphia

Russell Hales
Senior Partner Architect
Foster + Partners, London

A High-Rise Tech Campus that Encourages Face Time

The American telecommunications conglomerate Comcast required a technology center adjacent to its existing headquarters in downtown Philadelphia. The Comcast Technology Center, now the city’s tallest building, is conceived as a vertical campus that combines loft-like work spaces, state-of-the-art television studios, and a 12-story hotel above. Below street level, an underground concourse, lined with artwork celebrating the landscapes of Philadelphia, connects the two buildings with the city’s metro system. Reflecting Philadelphia’s great civic tradition of public spaces, at ground level, the four-story Winter Garden combines elements of a lobby, a plaza, retail, and social spaces to create a new public realm for the city. Inside this is The Sphere, a domed theater that provides an immersive cinematic experience, celebrating the power of ideas.

The split core creates a visual axis through the building, and the central spine is articulated at the top of the building as illuminated blades of glass. Each floor is oriented around a series of connected triple-height skygardens. A town hall for 550 people, cafes, and state-of-the-art fitness center are among the communal spaces that create a vertical city within the office program. Art is featured throughout, with pieces by Jenny Holzer and Conrad Shawcross to enliven the entrance; local street artists are featured across the loft floors. A hotel occupies the top levels, with its own entrance and a rooftop restaurant. As a public transit-oriented development, the project contains only 54 parking spaces, for a building with a daytime population of over 4,000 occupants. It features a direct, climate-controlled pedestrian connection to the regional transportation system via a new underground concourse.

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