The new office building at 1200 Intrepid Ave., in the Philadelphia Navy Yard Corporate Center is a sight to behold, described by some as gravity defying in that parts of the structure are designed to replicate the shape of a ship's hull, narrow at the bottom and wide at the top.
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Location: Ithaca, N.Y.
Size: 147,000 sq. ft. (61,100 sq. ft. structural gray precast wall panels)
Carl Becker House, which opened in August 2005, is the second of five houses that accommodate undergraduate residents on Cornell University's West Campus. It was named in honor of Carl L. Becker (1873-1945), a leading cultural historian who taught at Cornell from 1917 to 1941 and then served as university historian until his death.
The five-story dorm completed Phase II of Cornell’s $200 million residential initiative which includes five east-west oriented linear multi-story buildings connected by a two-story glass dining pavilion. Each residence hall features an outdoor green space and lower level terrace.
According to university architect Andrew Magre, “tips of the buildings were knocked down to be within scale of gothic buildings on campus.” Becker House is characterized by solid courts and deep-set windows. Roof ventilation stacks create a further relationship with the chimneys of the gothic buildings.
Among the reasons Cornell chose a total precast structure for the new dormitories were speed of construction, fire resistance, durability (the buildings have a 100-year design), budget constraints, and adaptability of the clear span for future reconfiguration of space. The precast was finished with site-installed full depth brick and slate installed as cavity wall on metal studs.
Carl Becker House and neighboring Alice Cook House are the first LEED Certified residence halls in New York State. The buildings are energy efficient and were built with recycled materials, forest-friendly lumber, and feature "green" living roofs that reduce storm-water runoff and moderate ambient temperatures.