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Arlington, VA

Construction Documents 2017

20,000 SF

Gensler (architect)
TCE & Associates (structural engineer)

Buch Construction

The Ballston Macy’s Office Building Terraces project encompasses a total of four outdoor amenity terraces for a multi-story office building located above an existing Macy’s department store in the Ballston Quarter district of Arlington, Virginia. LAB’s design approach is a response to the need for a series of functional outdoor work terraces that contrast the pristine glass walls of the surrounding office building and provide spatial, material, and experiential diversity for users. Working closely with the architect and structural engineer, the LAB team devised a series of precise and innovative design responses to the extremely tight structural loading requirements associated with the retrofit of an existing structure. Conceptually, the design responds to the arrangement of the interrelated cascading terraces, taking advantage of specific microclimatic and spatial qualities by associating each terrace with a regional ecological archetype.

The 4th floor terrace is shaded and introspective. Its geometries and rich materiality derive from the riverine woodlands that are common in this region. In order to meet loading requirements, planting in this area was extremely restricted. The 5th and 7th floor terraces, even more constrained by structural requirements, are conceptualized as rocky outcroppings interspersed with synthetic turf fissures between areas of hardscape. The penthouse terrace, sunny and open to the sky, evokes a highland meadow. Here a programmatically flexible field of synthetic turf is nestled between rolling berms planted with ornamental grasses and perennials. A trellis ‘grove,’ with slats that correspond to an adjacent interior ceiling condition, provides shade and a sense of enclosure. Together, these four terraces provide a playful background and a variety of exterior spaces for meetings, individual work, informal gatherings, and larger office events.

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Renderings: LAB