Articles Tagged with: Keith Mock
Design that Inspires a “Wow”

Technical.ly Philly writer Nicole Forrester profiled Linode’s headquarters, located in Old City Philadelphia. Ballinger completed the award-winning adaptive reuse project in 2018.

Excerpted from Technical.ly Philly:
In the heart of Old City, walking into Linode’s headquarters inspires a “Wow.” With soaring ceilings, marble floors, and a modern LED chandelier to pull it all together, it’s clear the cloud hosting company aimed to make a statement.

Linode Headquarters

Linode is a unique player in the tech scene. The cloud hosting company has emerged as a popular alternative to AWS, competing not from Silicon Valley, but right here in Philly. Its key differentiator: a highly trained in-house support team, where customers can talk to a real person 24/7. It’s one of the few companies in the world that invests in support in this manner, and customers love it for it — to the tune of over $100 million in yearly revenue.

Such an impressive stat might inspire a design aesthetic of mahogany and leather, but for Linode, the aim was to create a space that reflected the ethos of the open source technology it’s built from. Restoring the old Corn Exchange Building was a costly and time consuming undertaking, but CEO Chris Aker felt like it was the right way to move into Philly, as he told Technical.ly in 2018.

“So much of what we do as a company is intangible,” he said. “It’s bits flying through wires. It’s electrons. It’s magnetic fields on spinning rust, or in our case, on SSDs. This is something tangible.”

Open floor plans allow employees to rotate their desks easily as project teams shift. Glass walls and doors promote transparency and let the light fill up the whole space. On the flip side, there’s a functioning library with a real sliding ladder on the third floor, and the bank vault in the basement is now a meeting room. This blend of old and new is the core of Linode’s style.

The building has and is surrounded by a rich history. For Linode’s employees, that means eating lunch next door in the Betsy Ross House courtyard, or walking past where Ben Franklin is buried on the way to work.

“The American Revolution and the [advancement] of democracy has connection to the mission Chris built this company on,” said Michelle Berg, people operations generalist, referring to the democratization of the internet and cloud services’ contribution to that. “That is a really inspiring part of the environment here.”

There’s also more recent history. Formerly Linode HQ was the “Real World MTV” house, and just this past summer while filming for “Queer Eye,” Karamo Brown visited the office.

LinodeLinode’s previous office couldn’t have been more different. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, the space had previously been residential houses, so the offices were made of many small rooms.

Berg’s first week at the company was during the move to the new HQ. She said employees were so excited about the new building, many showed up before it was ready, bringing their own chairs or perching wherever they felt comfortable. The new office wasn’t just an upgrade in space, but a shift to being a Philly company. Located right on N3rd Street, rebranded by the city in 2014, it’s the most evident symbol of the growing tech community.

As such, Linode HQ hosts numerous community events throughout the year. From meetups to weekend workshops to beer gardens in the parking lot, there’s a tremendous amount of energy within the Philly tech community that flows through events sponsored by Linode.

After about a year and half, Linode has already begun work on an expansion. It’s still largely under wraps, but what Berg can share is that “it’s indicative of the amazing growth that we’ve had over the last two years.”

Linode Headquarters: Winner of the 2019 BD+C Reconstruction Award

Ballinger is pleased to announce that Linode Headquarters is a recipient of the 2019 BD+C Reconstruction Award. This award is given to the best historic preservation, reuse, renovation, and reconstruction projects nationwide. Winners were selected based on the overall design, engineering, and construction of the project.

Linode

Formally known as the Corn Exchange National Bank and Trust, Linode Headquarters is now home to an innovative and rapidly-growing tech company. Linode’s commitment to restoration drove the retention and rehabilitation of the building’s character-defining features, including the exteriors and double-story former banking hall. The interior spaces have been uncovered and restored to create a bright, transparent environment that respects the building’s history and authenticity. Moving forward, Linode Headquarters can serve as an example for future preservation and adaptive reuse projects.

The project was led by Ballinger Senior Principal, Keith C.H. Mock, AIA, and Director of Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse, Fon Wang, AIA, LEED AP.

Ballinger’s Fon Wang to present at the Tyler School

Ballinger’s Director of Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse, Fon S. Wang, AIA, LEED AP, will present “What’s New with the Old” at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Architecture. Part of Tyler’s lecture series, the presentation will illustrate challenges and triumphs of recent adaptive reuse work in Philadelphia and projects that are changing the way we view preservation. The event will take place on September 18 at 4pm.

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Linode featured in Context Magazine

Linode Headquarters  was featured in the summer issue of Context, a quarterly magazine published by the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The adaptive reuse project transformed a historic bank into a new headquarters for the growing cloud hosting company. Ballinger led the renovation of the 22,300 SF building, retaining character-defining features while promoting workplace collaboration through ubiquitous transparency and a variety of collaboration spaces. The ground floor banking hall was transformed into a contemporary hub for gatherings and special events.
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Linode Headquarters to receive Grand Jury Award from Preservation Alliance

Philadelphia’s Preservation Alliance will recognize Ballinger’s recent renovation of the Corn Exchange National Bank Building at the Annual Preservation Achievement Awards on June 5th. Linode Headquarters was selected for a Grand Jury Award.  The Old City landmark, known for its neoclassical style and history as a former MTV Real World house, was built for the Union Bank of Philadelphia in 1902 and now serves as workspace for the growing cloud-hosting company Linode. The building is listed in Philadelphia’s registrar of historic places and considered significant within the National Old City Historic District.

The mission of the Preservation Alliance is to promote appreciation and appropriate use of the Philadelphia’s historic buildings, communities and landscapes. The annual Preservation Achievement Awards honor outstanding contributions to the preservation of the region’s architectural and cultural heritage. Linode’s founder and CEO, Chris Aker, and Ballinger’s Director of Historic Preservation, Fon S. Wang, AIA, LEED AP, will accept the award at a ceremony at Philadelphia’s Vie.

Linode Headquarters featured in Preservation magazine

The spring issue of Preservation magazine includes a piece about Ballinger’s recent historic preservation and adaptive reuse project, Linode Headquarters.

The Philadelphia landmark, known for its neoclassical style and history as a former MTV Real World house, was built for the Union Bank of Philadelphia in 1902.

Linode, a growing cloud hosting company, chose the historic Philadelphia building as their new headquarters and selected Ballinger to renovate the 22,300 SF space.

The renovation resulted in an open, authentic, transparent workspace that supports Linode’s efforts to attract and retail talent. Ballinger successfully assisted Linode in the approval of Federal Historic Preservation Tax credits, allowing Linode to apply 20% of the renovation cost, including construction and soft costs, to their tax liability.

Ballinger’s Director of Historic Preservation, Fon S. Wang, AIA, LEED AP, is quoted in the piece, reflecting on her passion for the project. “I love the idea of the building having a new life with a completely different group of people.” Published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the magazine celebrates historic places through in-depth features, personal essays, and vibrant photography.

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From Light-Filled Factories to Light-Filled Offices

Ballinger is one of the oldest continuously practicing architecture and engineering firms in the United States. Founded in Philadelphia in 1878, the history of the practice is intertwined with the history of the city. Ballinger first gained a reputation as an innovator in the 1920s with its design of a superspan, sawtooth roof. By allowing natural light to penetrate, the roof led to increased production and interior mobility at many industrial plants built during that era.

One of the firm’s significant clients at that time was the Budd Company. Ballinger was the architect of the Budd Red Lion manufacturing plant in North Philadelphia. A Philadelphia icon, the plant was the birthplace of the stainless steel train and steel-framed automobile body.

Decades later, Ballinger returned to the site to design corporate offices for the Temple University Health System. The space evokes the stability of the industrial revolution-era architecture but re-focuses attention to the future through the overlay of bold interior design. The adaptive reuse project includes a 4-story office building connected to a one-story employee gathering and collaboration space with conference center and cafeteria. A focus of the space planning effort was to create an open office environment with direct access to natural light by placing enclosed offices to one side of the building. The boardroom space takes advantage of additional rooftop clerestory monitors to maximize natural light.

Read more about the riveting history of the Budd Company here.

Designing Space for Nomadic Workers

Many of today’s workers are nomads – moving from one place to another within a building or campus, or working remotely with periodic visits to the office. How can workplace design enable flexibility, and how do the solutions compare in corporate, academic and healthcare environments?

Writer Patricia Washburn covered the topic in her Tradeline Report “Designing Space for Nomadic Workers,” based on presentations by members of Ballinger’s Research + Strategy team.

“More and more, workers aren’t going to an office and sitting at the same desk Monday through Friday….These nomadic workers are often mobile by choice, taking advantage of the flexibility that technology has enabled for academic staff, knowledge workers, and even healthcare employees,” Washburn writes.

Principal Keith C.H. Mock, AIA, associate principal Christina Grimes, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, EDAC, and senior associate Katherine Ahrens, LEED AP contributed to the research. They looked across a range of work environments to illustrate the continuity of workplace strategies.

The Research + Strategy team at Ballinger builds on experience gained through diverse project types to design evidence-based, high-performing environments.  The team’s unique methodology combines a series of well-honed tools, critical thinking, and cross-market knowledge to better inform project design and outcomes.  This takes the form of detailed pre- and post-occupancy analysis and evaluations, branding and change management communications.

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Ballinger revives historic landmark for Linode’s new Philadelphia offices

Ballinger recently completed the renovation of the Corn Exchange National Bank building for the growing cloud-hosting company Linode. The new headquarters is a mashup of Silicon Valley technology and historic Philadelphia architecture. Sited next to the Betsy Ross House and along N3rd Street, the city’s official tech corridor, the building offers the kind of workspace that appeals to tech workers: it’s open, authentic, transparent, and home to state-of-the-art computing.

The Old City landmark, known for its neoclassical style and history as a former MTV Real World house, was built for the Union Bank of Philadelphia in 1902. It is listed in Philadelphia’s register of historic places and considered significant within the National Old City Historic District, with a facade featuring colossal limestone columns and a granite stoop with wood, bronze, and glass sliding-pocket doors. Its urban location promises to jumpstart Linode’s ability to recruit and retain highly-qualified employees.

Ballinger Principal, Keith C.H. Mock, AIA, and Director of Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse, Fon Wang, AIA, LEED AP, were tasked with rehabilitating the structure’s many striking original features while creating modern and functional offices for engineers, product development, sales, marketing, and customer support. Philadelphia specialists Materials Conservation Co. refurbished original wood lacquer, handmade plaster tiles and balustrade, hand-painting them to blend with the original. Masons uncovered brick walls and removed builder-grade floor tiles to showcase the original marble flooring. The team also rescued and rehabilitated the building’s 100-year-old wooden windows. Wang was energized by Linode’s commitment to restoring the building: “It was an honor working with an owner who fosters a true love for the building and its history. A lot of details that could have fallen to the wayside were saved and reinvigorated.”

The main bank room was designed to become a tech hub for social engagement. The underground bank vault, at one point the infamous Real World “confessional,” is now a break-out room, accessed through the original, restored metal vault door. Ballinger worked with state and city officials throughout the project to ensure that all work followed building regulations, and preservation and accessibility guidelines— a task that was challenged by the building’s age and landmark status. The result is a sophisticated design that highlights historic features and renders the building systems practically invisible.

Ballinger successfully assisted Linode in the approval of Federal Historic Preservation Tax credits, completing Parts I through III of the application and working with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PMHC) and the Philadelphia Historical Commission. The tax credit allows Linode to apply 20% of the renovation cost, including construction and soft costs, to their tax liability.

The building officially opened in June 2018 and has been well received by “Linodians.” Summarizing her passion for the project, Wang said, “One of the principles of historic preservation is continued use. My hope is that this adaptive reuse serves as a precedent to other buildings in need of a new life.”

Fostering Innovation While Promoting a Nomadic Workforce

Nomadic workers are mobile across buildings, campuses, and the globe. As the primary workplace evolves, how can the design of work spaces foster innovation and support these changes in the workforce? Ballinger principal Keith Mock, AIA, senior associate Christina Grimes, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, and associate Katherine Lyons presented their findings at the Tradeline University Facilities 2018 Conference in Austin. Their talk demonstrated how to incorporate individual work styles and cultural attributes into efficient, holistic team environments. By examining the nomadic journey of a typical researcher across multiple work environments, they identified work space design improvements.

Ballinger’s work featured in ‘Transformation By Design’ at the Center for Architecture and Design

The exhibition “Transformation By Design” is currently on display at Philadelphia’s Center for Architecture and Design. Organized around “Penn Connects,” the University of Pennsylvania campus master plan, the exhibition features selected projects form the past ten years. The program description reads: “With each project, Penn has sought to engage the highest caliber of architectural, landscape architectural, and engineering consultants, extending a tradition that combines continuous excellence in design and stewardship.”

Among the projects are the Annenberg Public Policy Center, a collaboration between Ballinger and Maki and Associates, and Pennovation Center, for which Ballinger provided structural and MEP engineering. The exhibition is on display through November 17. Principal Keith Mock spoke to the Philadelphia Business Journal about Penn Connects. Read the article here.

Tradeline: Hospital Expansion Inspires Workplace Redesign and Cultural Change

Tradeline published a report “Hospital Expansion Inspires Workplace Redesign and Cultural Change,” based on a talk by Douglas E. Carney, Senior Vice President of Facilities, Real Estate and Capital Programs for The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and Ballinger’s Keith C.H. Mock, AIA and Katherine Ahrens, LEED AP. It describes the rigorous, research-based approach Ballinger employed, in partnership with CHOP, to redesign CHOP’s workspaces. The “Test of Change” informed the design of CHOP’s Schuylkill Avenue Phase 1, currently under construction.

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Ballinger Featured in Interior Design Best of Office

Ballinger’s renovation of 98,000 SF for a corporate client in Branchburg, New Jersey is featured in Interior Design’s hardcover publication “Best of Office.” A two-page spread describes Ballinger’s unique solutions for converting a warehouse into an engaging workplace.

With a foreword by Interior Design Editor-in-Chief, Cindy Allen, the book features inspiring office interiors from around the world.

Tradeline Features Ballinger’s Workplace Strategy Team

Ballinger’s Workplace Strategy team was recently featured in a Tradeline report entitled, “Culture Drives Collaboration; Space Design Enhances It.” The article focuses on Ballinger principal, Keith Mock, AIA and Ballinger designer, Katherine Ahrens, LEED AP, and how they combine an understanding of a client’s office culture with a library of industry metrics and research on space utilization to arrive at a tailored workplace strategy and design.

The report presents a number of case studies across a range of industries. In the case of the University of Wisconsin’s Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, the University’s desire for a strong sense of community inspired a design that combines lab modules, open collaborative areas, and amenities such as shops and restaurants to promote formal and informal learning.

At a Boeing helicopter factory in Pennsylvania, Ballinger’s Workplace Strategy team was tasked with reorganizing the space to integrate engineers into the factory to optimize collaboration while allowing for sufficient space for focused work.

For Merck’s New Jersey headquarters, Ballinger engaged in a year-long research project that included a 27,000 SF pilot workspace to create a custom solution that reflected the Merck culture and work style.

To learn more about Ballinger’s methods for leveraging office culture to create successful workplace designs, read the full article.

Ballinger Thought Leaders Present Research on the Changing Culture of the Workplace

Ballinger Principal Keith Mock, AIA, and interior designer Katherine Ahrens, LEED AP, led a session at the 2013 Tradeline Space Strategies Conference, held in Scottsdale, AZ.

They analyzed the extensive research supporting the power of collaboration and presented Ballinger’s recent findings on the topic, collected through real-world implementation.

Focusing on several elements that impact design such as technology, socialization, flexible work arrangements, and utilization of space, they illustrated effective design and implementation strategies and showed how creating space for collaborative work is affecting and ultimately changing corporate culture.

Merck Branchburg

Link to Presentation