1400 Crystal Drive is a state-of-the-art, 310,000 SF office building “recycled” from a 1968 structure that had outlived its useful life span. Successfully weaving new and old together was the design challenge and goal. Challenges also included re-massing the building with the addition of 37,000 SF, weaving new systems through the original post-tension structure, and engaging public spaces more directly with the urban fabric.
The design solution included reconfiguring the building entry by moving parking and loading, and extending a new lobby to the corner where a plaza is created. The new, bright lobby and plinth engage the public space and activate the streetscape. The previous massing was “boxy” and unrelenting. The re-massed tower extends the area to capture views of the Potomac River and Federal City beyond, while responding to the context of Crystal Drive. The skin is light and transparent. Exposed structural armatures, supporting curtain-wall extensions, express the tension between the original frame and the new envelope. The design goals included distilling these systems to celebrate each.
Minimizing new openings in the existing post-tensioned slab was crucial. Existing core and perimeter penetrations were used to weave a new DOAS HVAC system throughout the existing structure. DOAS is a more efficient system that provides a healthier air environment and permits higher ceilings, more daylight and better views. The first of two 70’s era buildings in Crystal City to be transformed, the outcome is the validation of a sustainable strategy that creates a new and vibrant urban fabric from the framework of obsolete structures.