parallax image

Anthem Technology Center

  • LOCATION Atlanta, Georgia
  • CLIENT DPR Construction
  • CHALLENGE Required on-the-fly redesigns.

740 West Peachtree is the second office tower Portman Holdings has built in Atlanta’s growing Midtown technology hub, Tech Square. Anthem, the parent company of Blue Cross/Blue Shield, will be the sole tenant and expects their new Technology Center to provide space for over 3,000 IT and software development professionals.

The decidedly modern 21-story building, designed by John Portman and Associates, was built by DPR Construction. The exterior is all glass and metallic finishes with bold angular design features on both large and small scales. Knowing that decorative façades are one of our areas of expertise, DPR selected us to fabricate and install the majority of the non-glass exterior of the building.

At the lobby level we built two ACM clad angular canopies. One, in the center of the east elevation, is over the main revolving-door entrance, inside and out. The other, even more elaborate, shelters the northeast corner entrance and includes dramatic cladding over the concrete column supporting that corner of the building. Because of the complexity of these shapes, we laser scanned and 3D modeled these areas to define the precise dimensions and angles required to achieve John Portman’s architectural vision.

ACM Entry Canopy at NE Corner

As sometimes happens where multiple trades intersect on complex designs, we found that the substrates and mounting surfaces where we would be installing our work did not conform to the architectural specifications, and were not plumb and true. We quickly set up a temporary CAD office on site to shorten the lag time between new surveys and 3D modeling as needed to adapt to the as-built site conditions. This allowed us to fabricate the necessary components to achieve design intent, and complete the elevations, plumb and true, without negatively impacting the schedule. Our engineering team put in brutal hours redesigning these surfaces, but the results speak for themselves.

ACM Canopy at Main Entrance on East Elevation

One of the few interior elements we did on this project was also on this level. We fabricated and installed brushed stainless-steel panels in the elevator lobby to fill a scope gap initially overlooked. It is a fairly minor detail in an impressive interior design, but it speaks to our ability to pitch in to help make a project run smoothly.

In the transition between the lobby-level glass curtain wall and the overhanging levels above, we installed sloping ACM soffits in an angled pattern with staggered reveals. This soffit runs the length of the north and east elevation and wraps around and up the undercut triangular design element over our NE corner canopy.

Anthem Building North and East Façades
Anthem Building Elevator Lobby

Above the soffit level are seven stories of parking garage. Most of the perimeter of the building on these levels is covered in perforated aluminum façade panels. We made these panels from 1/8” aluminum, with a Kynar finish. Each has a custom perforation pattern with holes diminishing in size as they continue up the panel with the top left corner unperforated and angled out from the building. These angled corners provided an unexpected challenge once the panels were installed.

Due to car exhaust, a parking garage must maintain a certain level of ventilation. This is why enclosed garages typically have perforated facades, or solid panels with significant gaps between them to insure sufficient open space for airflow. The original design called for those angled corners to remain unsupported, which allowed for considerable open space. Unfortunately, when the wind was blowing, the unsupported corners would vibrate in the breeze and cause an unacceptable level of noise. We worked closely with John Portman to devise a method to retrofit a support for these corners that achieved three goals: it stopped the vibration, it maintained the required ventilation, and it was aesthetically pleasing. If you were not told, you would never notice that we had added a problem-solving component to the original design.

A section of the garage that is not covered in these perforated panels is in the center of the east elevation, immediately over our main entrance canopy. For this area, roughly 50’ x 80’, we brought in Extech to manufacture custom-sized panels of their KINETICWALL product, which we then installed. This product consists of Kynar-coated aluminum ‘flappers’ that swing back and forth in the slightest breeze. The finished wall ripples with shimmering waves of light and movement whenever the wind blows. This relatively new façade finish has been installed in several high-profile projects around the country, but ours is the first such installation in Atlanta.

East Façade Shimmer Wall and Entry Canopy

Nearly the Entire Building Envelope is Either Glazing or Our Façade Work

ACM Soffit Above Balcony

On the office levels 8, 16, and 19, there are several large greenspace terraces. Some are open to the sky, and some are covered. On the covered balconies we installed the ACM soffit, as well as a section of the east wall on the 8th floor.

Mechanical Drawing of Window Washer Access Door Through Roof Façade

On the roof we fabricated and installed two screen-wall crowns. These walls box off areas of roof a little over 69’ by 74’ on the northwest and southeast corners of the building and are over 20’ tall. They are fabricated from ACM over Kynar finished, square-aluminum-tube frames. Because these screen-walls are flush to the face of the building it was necessary to provide a provision for window washers to get through them. Every third panel includes a concealed door to allow this access. We designed the panels so that all these crews need do is release a couple of latches and the doors can be pulled back and rolled smoothly aside on their tracks. When closed, they are invisible from the ground.

Before and throughout the project we worked closely with the GC and architect to identify structural limits of materials and to make recommendations to effectively meet the design intent and budget. Like on any large project there were surprises and challenges that arose along the way. In each case we worked through the problem, designed and implemented solutions, and kept budgets and schedules on track. DPR and John Portman and Associates were great team players throughout, and we look forward to the opportunity to work with them again.