Army Test and Evaluation Command Headquarters
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PROJECT Army Test and Evaluation Command Headquarters
LOCATION Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, US
PROJECT COMPLETION DATE 3/1/2012
ARCHITECT WDG Architecture
OWNER/CLIENT Army Test and Evaluation Command
CONTRACTOR / CONSTRUCTION MANAGER Foulger-Pratt Companies
PHOTOGRAPHER Maxwell Mackenzie
ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN TEAM Eric Liebmann, Steven Schwartzman, Ingrid Marrone, Doug James, William Pegues, Yun Kim
SUMMARY DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT
The Army Testing and Evaluations Command (ATEC) Headquarters design meets the aesthetic challenge of modern military architecture – to be respectful of the stature and traditions of the past, yet expressive of the technical innovation and sophistication of today’s modern army. The building’s overall massing-- bold, axial, and space forming, establishes a powerful presence within the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, appropriate to its command mission and prime location --- a disavowal of the base’s recent trend toward “Army Ugly”.
The 140,000-square foot facility includes multi-use office, administrative, SCIF, conference, training and mechanical/support space for 610 personnel. As a prime command facility, the building is additionally designed to serve a critical ceremonial role, regularly entertaining visiting dignitaries, including frequent congressional and foreign delegations.
ATEC Headquarters equally accommodates both programmatic and ceremonial functions. The latter is formally addressed by the architecture’s classical, symmetrical framework. Design compatibility within the historic garrison had been mandated. The adjacent Army Ordinance College is an historically celebrated three building U- shaped grouping surrounding a central forecourt. ATEC consists of two L-shaped wings with a central projecting atrium and linear entry canopy. Collectively, a U-shape is created. The prominent glass-enclosed atrium, invoking a central axis, becomes the modern-day equivalent of the traditional entry portico, characteristic of not only the buildings of the Ordinance College, but broadly utilized in the creation of significant military architecture for many centuries.
The two L-shaped office wings, each enclosing 22,000 gross square feet of tenant space, maximize open office design flexibility while ensuring each inhabitant, a mix of civilian and military personnel, is within the prescribed 45-foot limit from an exterior wall. The three-level glass enclosed atrium bridges the wings. The space is designed to house major events and ceremonies. By containing all vertical circulation, as well as linking the two wings horizontally, the atrium is continually animated as a hub of day -to- day activity.
The headquarters’ exterior expands its ceremonial presence. A direct entry is provided from the main parking area to the rear. From Aberdeen Boulevard, the Proving Ground’s main street, formal military procession is accommodated. A semi-circular drop-off is underscored by security mandated bollards and stone clad barrier walls. A 100-foot-long pergola connects drop-off with entry foyer. The 25,000-sf forecourt displays the latest in tested military equipment and accommodates outdoor ceremonies and equipment demonstrations. Its primary gravel surface is inspired by the iconic Horse Guard’s Parade Grounds in London.
The office wings are sheathed economically in precast concrete. The coloration and subtly randomized pattern references the materiality of the adjacent Ordinance College, its entries sheathed in classical limestone and wings clad in random granite ashlar. The prime focus of the assemblage is the atrium enclosure. Despite security compliance (UFC4-010-01) featuring a progressive collapse structural system and blast resistant windows, an expression of transparency, intended to characterize today’s United States’ Army, is uncompromised.
The facility has been LEED-NC certified.
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IMAGE CAPTIONS & CREDITS
IMAGE 1 ATEC_high res, Exterior at Dusk, © Maxwell MacKenzie
IMAGE 2 ATEC_high res ext, Exterior at Dusk, © Maxwell MacKenzie
IMAGE 3 ATEC_high res int, Atrium , © Maxwell MacKenzie
IMAGE 4 ATEC_low res ext 1, Entry, © Maxwell MacKenzie
IMAGE 5 ATEC_low res ext 2, Entry Pergola, © Maxwell MacKenzie
IMAGE 6 ATEC_low res ext 3, Entry from Parking, © Maxwell MacKenzie