Periscope Up on Ingels Office Building


A new office building in Philadelphia’s historic Navy Yard was designed to reflect the location’s maritime legacy, with architectural references to the big ships once built and serviced there—replete with a periscope.

The Bjarke Ingels Group-designed 1200 Intrepid, commissioned by Liberty Property Trust, features a signature curved facade across one long side, created both to mimic the curvature of the circular park it faces and to call to mind the curved bow of one of the large ships that were produced at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard between 1871 and 1995, when the facility was shuttered.

Curved Shape

The 92,000 square-foot office building is situated between the rectangular grid of the redeveloped Navy Yard, which houses retail and office space, and the semicircular Central Green Park, inspiring its shape, according to BIG.

“The building’s double-curved, precast concrete facade bows inward to create a generous urban canopy that responds to the ‘shock wave’ of the park’s circular running track, activity pods and planting vignettes,” BIG explains in a description of the building’s design.

Periscope Lobby

Perhaps the most unorthodox feature of the building: A functioning “periscope” in the center, in the form of a skylight with mirrors. From the lobby, one can look up and see out into the nearby dock. The firm notes that the mirrored skylight also brings natural light to every floor of the building.

Lobby periscope

Perhaps the most unorthodox feature of the building: A functioning “periscope” in the center, in the form of a skylight with mirrors.

1200 Intrepid is BIG’s first building in Philadelphia, according to the developer, and was LEED Gold certified in September. Turner Construction was the building’s design-build contractor and completed the core-and-shell work.

According to BIG, the density of the precast concrete helps to improve building envelope energy efficiency. The building, as noted on its LEED scorecard, was constructed with at least 10 percent recycled materials.


BIG collaborated with design and engineering firm Environetics, green design consultants In Posse, landscape architecture firm LRSLA Studio, engineering firm Pennoni and green consultants Re:Vision Architecture on the project.


Tagged categories: Architects; Architecture; Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG); Color + Design; Commercial Construction; concrete; Contractors; Design; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); LEED; North America; Office Buildings

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