450,000 square feet / 42,000 square meters
2100 Pennsylvania Avenue prominently marks the northern edge of the George Washington University campus. This mixed-use development, like Pelli Clarke Pelli Architect’s design for The Avenue one block away, includes a LEED Gold-targeted office building with retail serving the University community and the Foggy Bottom neighborhood.
The primary building façade, that is prominently visible along Pennsylvania Avenue, features an expressive glass and terracotta curtain wall that undulates along the Pennsylvania Avenue, 21st Street and I-Street frontages, emulating the streamlined icons of New York’s Flatiron Building and Barcelona’s Casa Mila. Just to the east of this main entrance, the project extents includes the design and maintenance of a ½-acre triangular park owned by the National Park Service.
The overall façade is a high-performance curtain wall with large vision glass units framed between richly textured metal and stone relief that gleam and change responsively in daylight and nightlight. Large double-height projecting bays animate the façade like the surface of a waving flag and enhance visual connections between the neighboring streetscapes and workplace interiors.
The primary office lobby is located on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 21st Street. The Pennsylvania Avenue frontage includes a daycare center and a secondary office lobby recessed below one of the double-height projections. The I-Street frontage includes a glassy double-height retail storefront targeted for a high-end food market, café and restaurant – a corresponding compliment to The Avenue’s programmatic activities. Above the retail behind the recessed storefront is an office conference center, which further animates the streetscape.
The public interiors, also designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, include a triple-height lobby, a 10-story atrium with skylight and a grand sculptural stair that links both together. As the exterior façade continues and transforms into the interior with undulating walls of clear and mirror-etched glass, projecting white oak mullions immerse all the surfaces with textured warmth, alluding to a lightly wooded forest. Gradient configurations of mullions heighten the folding planes of the atrium’s western curtainwall and soften the afternoon daylight. Wood veneered baffles ripple below the atrium skylight, tempering and shaping daylight like a canopy of overhead branches.
Textured dark olive marble flows continuously across the atrium floor, down the grand stair and through the lobby like a riverbed. Collectively, the forms and materials of the interiors heighten connections to nature and imbue the public spaces with nurturing ambiance. The same figurative elements of the building’s interiors — notably the waving profiles, cascading steps and patterns in stone — feature prominently in PCPA’s design for the adjacent pocket park, owned by the National Park Service, amplifying connections between the building, outdoor public space, nature and the city.