The Challenge

Owner/Client Brandywine Realty Trust
Square Foot Area 1,042,000 GSF
Cost $280 Million USD
Role BLT Architects: Architect with Pelli Clarke Pelli serving as Design Architect and Asfour Guzy as consulting Interior Designer

Site Constraints and Space Programming


The location at 30th and Walnut Street is a pivotal urban site with high local density and services, adjacent to two great universities, the river and a recreational park. Public transportation options are many, with buses, commuter and regional rail, and trolleys in close walking distance with bicycle lanes to connect east and west. Most staff and residents are expected to use easy public transit and access to the parking garage.

The concept design placed the major building services on the lower street level and a front and back plaza for the office and residential lobbies, with generous planters and shade at the upper street level. The mechanical systems are on the high roof and transfer floor between the residential and office uses. With a mix of daytime office staff and overnight residents and guests, the FMC Tower forms an active part of the local neighborhood, and creates a pedestrian-friendly environment.

Green roof and shared amenities

Green Roof

The extensive green roofs and urban landscaping reduce rainwater runoff, and special filters have been added to the storm water collection system to protect the public storm system. Native plants, shrubs and ground cover have been selected to work well with the Mid-Atlantic climate with no irrigation system. Throughout the office floor restrooms, apartments, and the hotel rooms, low flow fixtures will reduce water use by 45% compared to standard requirements, saving millions of gallons of water every year, enough for an entire neighborhood.

Building envelope and energy efficiency

Curtain Wall Facade Detail

The custom fabricated curtain wall systems, similar to the earlier Cira Center in appearance, used high performance glass, framing and spandrel panels with shadow box insulation to reduce solar heat gain through the facade while providing excellent views and good interior daylight quality. Combining an efficient central HVAC system, LED lighting, and sophisticated controls, with the on-site use of micro-turbines to produce electricity and pre-heat domestic water, the holistic approach is calculated to save 15% of energy use over standard designs. In addition, all electrical power is from renewable sources for the entire building.

Materials and Indoor environment

Hospitality Lobby

During construction, more than 85% of construction waste was sent to off-site recycling centers for sorting and diverting thousands of tons from landfills in the region. Thirty percent of the building is constructed of recycled materials and materials produced within 500 miles of the site. The major contributors were the steel and concrete. Nearly all of the wood used was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). All of the paints, coatings, sealants and adhesives have zero or low VOCs, helping keep the indoor air clean during and after construction. Brandywine worked with the building management and cleaning companies to put in place a green housekeeping program, including training personnel and using environmentally safe products.

The result

LEED 2009 Core & Shell - 65pts, Gold Certification