Ortlieb's Bottling House
Owner: KTRE, LLP
Project site: Historic structure or district
Building program type(s): Office – 10,001 to 100,000sf
2018 COTE Top Ten Plus honoree
Faced with a growing firm and an increasing need for building and meeting space, Philadelphia-based architecture firm KieranTimberlake transformed a former beer bottling plant into a new studio and testing ground featuring a fabrication lab, model making shop, and breakout spaces. The firm took advantage of the mid-century building’s naturally ventilating form to create an energy-efficient retrofit that uses passive strategies such as daylight, thermal mass, and operable windows to reduce the building’s reliance on mechanical systems by 70 percent. By renovating the existing structure, the firm extended the building’s life cycle and preserved the historic character of a rapidly changing neighborhood.
"An exceptional example of passive strategies used in adaptive reuse of an historic urban building." ~ Jury statement
This project is a retrofit of a historic bottling plant in a dense residential and commercial neighborhood in Philadelphia. Built in 1948, the industrial building was transformed into an open plan office for 100+ people with conference rooms, fabrication shops, and breakout spaces. The goal for the renovation was to achieve a comfortable, energy-efficient, and flexible working environment and retain the building’s original International Style characteristics. After the renovation, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The building is a two-story red brick structure with large bands of windows on the west and north sides. The second floor is an expansive open space with glazed brick walls and exposed roof trusses, illuminated with daylight from the windows and a glazed clerestory on the roof. The architects took advantage of these features to employ environmentally responsible systems for conditioning the space and to minimize lighting and power loads. Natural light and ventilation, together with the thermal mass of the concrete structure, provided an ideal test bed to experiment with various combinations of passive and active ventilation and dehumidification for heating and cooling. The experimentation was scrupulously tracked with 400 data sensors and daily occupant surveys to arrive at a new model for energy-efficient thermal comfort. The renovation highlights and preserves the best attributes of a mid-century building, while incorporating novel approaches to office design to create a flexible, collaborative space that enhances creative pursuits. The vast open space and exposed steel trusses are a treasure rarely experienced in typical office buildings. Furthermore, the project preserves an important part of Philadelphia’s architectural heritage and maintains the character of a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, highlighting the great potential of the region’s mid-century building stock to provide innovative, productive, and sustainable work spaces that support a growing creative economy.