The Plaza at PPL Center, an urban office building, was designed and built in 18 months on a suburban real-estate budget. Located in the center of Allentown, Pennsylvania, this eight-story building is the first new downtown office development in more than 25 years and represents a major commitment to the City by the building's tenant, the PPL Corporation, a regional energy company. While the PPL Corporation occupies most of the building, the owner, Liberty Property Trust, developed one floor as speculative office space, and the plaza level of the building includes retail storefronts.
Located in downtown Allentown on a previously-developed site, the building sits at a major public transportation node and forms a new public plaza at one end of the City's main business corridor. The highly transparent south façade animates the street scene and metaphorically opens to public view the activity inside. The building is a catalyst for economic development in the center of Allentown's business district.
A dramatic eight-story central glass atrium brings natural light deep into the core of the building, while extensive perimeter glazing provides abundant daylight to, and views from, all building spaces.
Carbon dioxide sensors insure that fresh air is supplied to each building area as needed, and zero-emitting or low-VOC paints, adhesives, sealants, carpet, and composite wood were used throughout. Two two-story, plant-filled winter gardens along the south façade of the building provide unique workspaces, bring daylight deeper into the floor plates, control glare, and improve indoor air quality.
The design integrates environmental moderation and control into the fabric of the building with high-performance glazing, brises-soleil, and a vegetated roof. The building's energy demand is more than 30% lower than code requirements, its water use is 45% below code requirements, and its construction materials contain over 20% recycled content.