Page B1.1 . 31 October 2001                     
ArchitectureWeek - Building Department
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    Office Infill Treads Lightly

    by B.J. Novitski

    The BP Amoco Research Center posed several challenges to its architects. The client wanted the 40-building campus to have a new corporate identity expressed in a high-profile marker at its entrance. Three existing buildings needed to be connected through a central circulation space. And to keep costs down, the addition needed to impose minimum disruption on the existing structure.

    Thomas Hoepf, AIA, principal design architect of the Chicago firm, Teng & Associates, Inc., satisfied all these needs in a glass-fronted atrium. A close look at his various structural solutions explains the seemingly floating floors and stair.

    The 50-acre (20-hectare) research campus in Naperville, Illinois includes office buildings and research and testing laboratories. They average three stories in height and are uniformly clad in brick and limestone. Between three of these buildings had been an open, north-facing plaza.

    Anatomy of a Structure

    Hoepf and his design team enclosed part of this plaza with a three-story, 12,000-square-foot (1100 square-meter) atrium. The project also included the conversion of the three adjoining buildings from research labs to offices.

    The atrium's primary structure consists of just three columns, which carry the project's entire vertical load. They support a roof which cantilevers to the north and ties into the existing, somewhat lower roofs to the south.



    ArchWeek Image

    The BP Amoco Research Center has a new corporate identity through a three-story atrium designed by Teng & Associates, Inc.
    Photo: Steve Hall/ Hedrich Blessing

    ArchWeek Image

    The shape of the stair was inspired by a fern and its branching, tapered leaves.
    Photo: Steve Hall/ Hedrich Blessing


    Click on thumbnail images
    to view full-size pictures.

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