Updated post 18.11.14 at 7:02 p.m.
When profits depend on employees’ ability to create cutting-edge designs, a business simply can’t survive unless its workplace is an incubator for innovation: Urban Outfitters “lives and dies in creativity”. –Richard Hayne
After relocating to an abandoned naval yard, Urban Outfitters, the retro-chic retailer sees revenue skyrocket—and once skeptical employees have embraced the gritty, but inspiring space.
Amenities such as a gym, yoga studio, dog park, and farmers’ market further add to the lively and informal atmosphere. The exterior landscaping was designed by Julie Bargmann’s D.I.R.T. studio, known for turning derelict industrial sites into vibrant public spaces.
### hq.construction.com 1 December 2009
Urban Outfitters’ Edgy Adventure
By Jenna M. McKnight and Sebastian Howard
PHILADELPHIA—Richard Hayne, chairman and president of Urban Outfitters, met stiff resistance when he initially announced plans to move his company’s headquarters from traditional high-rise offices to five dilapidated buildings in the decommissioned Philadelphia Navy Yard. “I wouldn’t say it was a mutiny,” Hayne says, recalling his colleagues’ reactions. “But there were definitely some blank stares and ‘are you kiddings?’”
The retailing giant, which sold nearly $2 billion worth of its clothing and apartment wares in 2008, for many years had been spread among six buildings in downtown Philadelphia. This physical separation was “horrible”, Hayne says, because each department was “unsure about what the other was doing”.
Increasingly, Hayne realised that to maximise performance his company needed a unified campus — and a generic office park was out of the question given the spirit and reputation of Urban Outfitters.
Founded in 1970, the retailer offers hip merchandise with a vintage twist aimed at trendy, young buyers. Most of its retail brands, which include Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People, are housed in renovated old buildings with double-height ceilings and exposed brick, concrete and timber.
So Hayne began looking for a setting for his new corporate home that would mirror the aesthetic sensibility of his stores, and in 2004, he found what he judged to be a near-perfect spot: the naval shipyard, which the Defense Department shuttered in 1995.
### uli.org [Urban Land Institute]
Awards for Excellence: 2007 Winner
Urban Outfitters Corporate Campus
The Philadelphia Navy Yard, which encompasses more than 1,000 acres (405 ha), 2,000 buildings, and 2.5 miles (4 km) of riverfront, was decommissioned in 1996. In 2000, ownership was transferred to the Philadelphia Authority of Industrial Development (PAID), and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) began developing the property on behalf of PAID and the city. The Navy Yard is rapidly becoming a dynamic and viable new business location, as evidenced by the Urban Outfitters corporate office campus, which was completed and opened in October 2006.
Urban Outfitters’ pioneering move has positively impacted the entire Navy Yard. A new creative district, with top advertising agencies, graphic designers, and photographers, is growing around the retailer. New coffee shops and restaurants serve workers and visitors alike. More than 4,000 jobs have been created in the Yard since the company moved.
worldarchitecturenews.com (Thursday 29 Oct 2009)
More photographs of the heritage dock yard complex by Lara Swimmer at archdaily.com (1 December 2010).
█ Website: urbanoutfittersinc.com
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr