ARCO Polymer Research Facility
Newton Square, Pennsylvania
Atlantic Richfield Company
Planning + Urban Design
Architecture + Interiors
l-ds, in a joint venture with Davies Brody & Associates, was commissioned by the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) to plan and design a multi-building research complex on a 320-acre site in a wooded area 20 miles from Philadelphia, in order to consolidate the research facilities previously scattered across the United States into a single center.
The site is a suburban tract of partially wooded grassland that was previously occupied by an orphanage and school. ARCO wished to enhance the visual impact of the existing buildings, foliage, and the rolling terrain by minimizing that of the new facility. ARCO also required a clearly organized building plan that allowed light and views of the site to reach all interior areas and increased interaction among the groups occupying the facility.
To meet these requirements, the new facility was nestled into the rear of the site and provided little modification to the grounds closer to the entrance. The existing stone school buildings were retained to serve as conference facilities, guest quarters, and a training center / gymnasium.
The completed project received a favorable review from Architectural Record: “with utmost economy of means, the architects have constructed an image of discovery that is as relevant to art as it is to science.”