Housed in Philadelphia’s historic Navy Yard, this multi-phased corporate campus provides new design studios and office space for the company’s distinctive retail brands, while celebrating the idiosyncratic remnants of 125 years of shipbuilding. Embracing both the history of the Navy Yard and URBN’s modern culture by layering old and new, the design team found inspiration in the factory characteristics of the buildings—industrial materiality, open volumes, and access to daylight—to repurpose the buildings’ major function from production to creativity. The synthesis of four measures—art, culture, economy, and environment—results in the transformation from a production-based yard to a creativity-based campus.
“This is a great example of a reuse project. The new design brings out the best of the old and highlights the historic features in ways that might have been less successful with a more traditional response. The tension between old and new, tactile and smooth, light and dark, indoor and out, all of this while holding in character with the corporate image—genius.”