Philadelphia’s Corn Exchange building has served many purposes over more than a century, but its role as Linode’s headquarters is by far the coolest. A renovation led by Ballinger created a sleek new space for the tech company with a gentle touch to preserve the building’s historic architecture. The project recently caught the attention of Building Design + Construction (BD+C), which honored Linode’s design team with a 2019 Reconstruction Award for outstanding design, engineering, and construction.
The Lighting Practice developed the 3000K LED lighting system with an emphasis on flexibility and wayfinding. Helen Diemer, Emad Hasan, Johnathan Cook, and Chris Hallenbeck chose controllable direct/indirect pendants in the open office area, a feature that is especially helpful for users who work long, irregular hours. Linear slots with supplemental pinhole downlights offer separate dimmable controls in the conference rooms and private offices. The team also highlighted key areas and architectural features using warm color temperature to mimic the incandescent lighting used during the building’s original construction.
Established in 1950, BD+C is a trade publication and network that provides news, trends, and inspiration for architects, contractors, and others in the design and construction industry. It was the first magazine to recognize buildings designed and built by teams. BD+C’s Reconstruction Awards honor the best projects in renovation, preservation, and adaptive reuse work.
Members of the Linode headquarters project team included:
- Ballinger (Architect/SE, led by Senior Principal, Keith C.H. Mock, AIA, and Director of Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse, Fon Wang, AIA, LEED AP)
- Atlantis Investments LLC (Owner)
- HPE Group (MEP)
- Materials Conservation Collaborative (Conservator)
- The Lighting Practice (Lighting design)
- C. Erickson and Sons (GC)
Linode Headquarters: High-tech + historic
Building Design + Construction | November 2019
The 1906 bank’s limestone façade and colossal engaged columns. All photos: Todd Mason/Halkin Mason Photography.
Christopher Aker, CEO of cloud-hosting company Linode, could have built a new headquarters anywhere he darned well pleased. Instead, he chose to put nearly $10 million into making Philadelphia’s 1906 Corn Exchange National Bank a high-powered magnet that would attract and retain high-tech talent for his fast-growing company.
The new headquarters combines Beaux Arts authenticity (“It has so much character,” says Aker) with high-tech buzz. Located next to the Betsy Ross House in the historic Old City, it has become a lively addition to Philadelphia’s N3rd (“nerd”) Street tech and design hub.