The Peter W. Rodino Jr. Federal Office Building is a 16 story, 467,550 square foot structure housing several government agencies, including the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Regional Center, the General Services Administration, and the US Attorney’s Office.
The original main-entry vestibule of this secured building consisted of two narrow entrances, with only one scanner in each and an oversized exit pathway between them. To alleviate the daily congestion and long visitor lines waiting to go through security, the vestibule was expanded outward to the building’s existing two-story exterior columns. Taking adjoining first floor space, the two security screening entrance spaces were expanded to fit two baggage and portal body scanners in each; while the exit pathway was narrowed.
DCM used the structural pattern of the existing concrete-clad façade to design the mullion grid of the new two-story curtain wall system. The supporting structure for the new canopy that cantilevers over the plaza remains hidden behind these curtain wall mullions, making this large stainless-steel canopy appear to float.
Elevated six feet above the plaza, the expansion of the Walnut Street vestibule required redesign of the stairs leading up to the raised platform in order to meet ADA clearance requirements. A new stone cap with precast ribbed concrete panels match the existing color palette while adding a decorative touch.
Inside, the vestibule’s interior provides a modern look yet remains warm and welcoming to the public. DCM worked to replicate the strong geometry on the façade utilizing divider strips in the terrazzo flooring and shadow reveals between the finishes on the walls. Different materials are used to differentiate the spaces within the vestibule. From the street, visitors enter into a double-height space with reflective glass ceiling panels and light-colored marble cladding; ribbed to match the texture used on the concrete panels outside. The security checkpoint area with the baggage and portal body scanners has a lower ceiling and linear cove LED strip lighting. Perforated wood panels cover the new blast resistant CMU barrier, creating a softer color scheme while also helping to reduce noise. Radiant floor heating helps to alleviate cold drafts in the winter.
Composite panels completely separate the central exit corridor from the two entries. Finished in brushed aluminum and mimicking the wood panels’ perforation, these panels allow the guards to see into the exit corridor for additional safety measures, while still providing access control.