Federal Office Building

Thomas Phifer and Partners
New York, New York
Lead draftsman
2011 - 2013

I could tell you where this project is located, but then I'd have to kill you.

Thomas Phifer and Partners was tapped by a clandestine agency to design this complex in 2010, and I assumed the role of draftsman once granted security clearance in 2011. Over two subsequent iterations on the 200,000SF and $75,000,000 project, I grew into the role of lead draftsman and assumed the responsibility of facade development.

An awkward site coupled with domineering security requirements informed the massing of a nearly cubic office tower set atop an extremely long and low plinth. The plinth housed a parking garage along with some large, vaguely programmed spaces for undefined/unspeakable activities.

The entirety of the stark massing was veiled in a steel mesh shroud that coaxed the disparate forms into a singular visual language and kept curious eyes off interior activities. The lightness of the scrim lent a delicate appearance but was actually an extremely robust armor capable of withstanding a direct impact.

Even secret agents need light and air, so my main objective was to design the facade in such a way that afforded the right rooms the appropriate amount of daylight and views, all while maintaining the quiet and beautiful aesthetic of Thomas Phifer and Partners' work.

Ultimately, inspiration and solution was found in the subtlety of Hiroshi Sugimoto's ethereal Seascapes below.

Sugimoto 1

Sugimoto 2

Sugimoto 3