united way offices

borough of west chester, chester county, pennsylvania

office commercial


This project may be regarded as an office addition and renovation project within an infill context with regard to the overall area of the borough within which it is located.  To be sure there is a shared office concept with the adjacent insurance agency and the buildings are code-compliant as an individual structure, but the new offices are a most dominant tenant in the new addition and provide the building with its overall character almost as if they are adjacent, but separate neighbors.  This led to a freedom of expression for the new structure/addition, despite the fact that its floor elevations are directly tied to the adjacent structure, and a desire to produce an aesthetic more sympathetic to the context of the overall character of the buildings in proximity to which it is otherwise located in the surrounding neighborhood.  Thus, the building could take on a more contemporary identity with regard to its expression and architectural style, and be configured to make extensive use of light to penetrate the internal spaces, deploying large expanses of vertical glass and a central vertical projection lighted via a clerestory at the topmost floor.  (Note also the shading louvers called for on the building façade and at the clerestory and the recessed entries to limit heat gain along the west facing elevation, paired with a much smaller fenestration for the other east and south-facing walls.) The building footprint was required to occupy the entire lot area, which served to challenge the implementation of a dual entry for convenient access to parking on a neighboring property and accessibility and exiting code compliance.