440 First Street was a 1982 office building at the end of its useful life span. Renovation challenges included a narrow floor plate with a central core that made planning depths difficult. Also, the ability to add 20 feet of height made the addition of one floor infeasible and two floors challenging.
The design solution has “recycled” and transformed 440 First Street into a new, state-of-the-art workplace on Capitol Hill. Demolition of the existing top floor allowed the addition of three new floors with higher ceilings. A new, off-set core and steel framing enables 45-foot, optimal planning depths that are column-free. The building was increased in size 35,000 SF to a total of 140,000 SF, salvaging 70% of the original structural frame.
The building’s front façade is composed of a clear curtain wall permitting maximum views out and maximum daylight in. The absence of spandrel glass allows the structural frame to be differentiated from the envelope. This system is detailed to create a sense of transparency and visual movement as it steps beyond the street wall. This is also repeated where the façade meets the roof, blurring the distinction between building and sky. Similarly, interior detailing of public spaces creates visual movement. Believing the systems to be an integral part of the architecture, the design utilizes a Dedicated Outside Air System (DOAS) to increase the quality of the work environments, reduce energy costs, increase building efficiency and facilitate higher ceilings. This is the first application of this system in the Nation’s Capital. Conceived from the inside out, the outcome is a vital, LEED Platinum building that has been a case study for a dozen other developments.