Swinerton topped Block 162, a 606,000 square meter speculative office building at 675 15th St. in downtown Denver. Gensler designed the project.
Block 162 is a joint venture led by Patruly Group and USAA Real Estate.
“We are proud to announce this significant milestone in Block 162 and to applaud our team for their dedication and ability to keep our delivery on schedule in very difficult circumstances,” said Robert Fields, President and CEO of Patruly Group. “We have long-term beliefs in the Denver marketplace and trust in the strength and continued appeal of Denver as a world class business environment and destination for individuals and companies.”
The 30-story Class A office building will include 20 floors of office space on levels 11-30. The facade will be an all-glass curtain wall system, and the column-free design includes an average floor slab size of 29,800 rentable SF.
“The building’s highly efficient, uniform glazing and external lamellas not only minimize energy consumption, but also maximize transparency and daylight on all office floors,” said Raffael Scasserra, LEED-AP, Principal, Design Director at Gensler.
“All of the office floors have 10 feet of clear, floor-to-ceiling glass for unparalleled views of Denver and the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains,” said Scasserra. “The way the building is notched at the corners is also more than just an expression of the shape of the building. These exposed edges are another means of allowing additional natural light to enter the building. Near the top of the tower they unfold outward and give the building an outstanding quality – reminiscent of the natural peaks and high alpine ridges that are the symbol of the surrounding natural landscape of Denver. “
When asked what the challenges of building a nearly 30,000-square-foot floor slab with no interior pillars were, said Chad Holajter, Swinerton Project Leader, “The biggest challenge in removing interior pillars is making improvements to the concrete core of the building.
“In order to remove all of the inner pillars, the structural beams had to span from these outer pillars to the concrete core structure,” continued Holajter. “This involved placing essential steel embeddings on each level of the core to allow a place for the structural beams to be welded.” When the project partners became aware of the challenges that would arise at the core, “we all decided that a self-climbing concrete core system would be the solution,” said Holajter. This steel system allowed for a consistent arrangement of the embeddings, rebars, and other core penetrations that could be reused over and over instead of having to lay out and rebuild the core for each floor. “The core system was a driver for the schedule and quality of the project, but has now enabled very open and spacious floor plans.”
The office building will have an equipment area on the 11th floor which is exclusively dedicated to the tenants of the building. It has a fitness center, a social lounge, and conference and meeting rooms. These interiors provide direct access to the building’s sky terrace on the 11th floor, which will be a well-tended outdoor rooftop garden with its own practice lawn, seating areas and fire pits. The fitness center has extensive, operable glass walls that open onto the exercise lawn, as well as an indoor area with stretching areas, cardio stations, free weights and changing rooms for men and women with private showers. “One of my favorite design elements is the comfort deck and sky terrace on the 11th floor,” said Scasserra. “The design is based on the idea of giving tenants a direct connection between inside and outside. It is a direct reflection of the Denver lifestyle and has terraces with lounge seating, indoor fireplaces, outdoor fire pits, and a catering bar and bodega. “Renters can enjoy a high-end, welcoming, panoramic room, he said. A fully functional NanaWall system allows 40 foot wide openings in three different locations to maximize connection to the outside area.
“Block 162 is one of the few new speculative high-rise office buildings built in Denver’s central business district since the 1980s,” continued Scasserra. “Our challenge as designers was not only to create the next office building for Denver, but also to make sure it would fit into the existing urban fabric.”
Early in the design process, the Gensler team took inspiration from the multitude of natural influences in and around Denver to create mass schemes that reflect the shapes and movements of the mountain peaks, rock layers, tree skin, and the east-reaching Great Plains.
“Ultimately, we went for a concept that included a subtle faceted crown and corners to create mountain-like slopes, pedestals and vistas that blend with the sky,” Scasserra said. “These faceted elements allow the expression of the building to transform and capture the natural quality of Denver through changing lights and colors. This architectural theme of angles and peaks also characterizes the ceiling and columns of the main lobby, which through its glass surface comes into contact with the surrounding urban environment and creates an activated street environment. “
The project is certified with LEED Gold. The construction of block 162 should be completed in December. The first occupancy for tenants is already possible in January.
Published in the edition of CREJ from August 5th to 18th, 2020.