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BP's Lower 48 Oil and Gas Hub Prepares to Open

Riverview at 1700 Platte: BP's New Lower 48 HQ in Denver


Just west of downtown Denver, Riverview at 1700 Platte offers the best of two worlds: The city and the great outdoors.

Designed by Tryba Architects, the office building is the new headquarters for energy giant BP's U.S. Lower 48 onshore oil and gas business.

The U-shaped design connects the urban location westward with the South Platte River to the east. At the heart of the campus, a central terraced courtyard balances the two environments.

"The building deliberately engages strongly with both the historic context of Platte Street and the riverfront," says David Tryba, FAIA, founder of Denver-based Tryba Architects.

John McIntyre, ANZIA, principal with Tryba, says the west side "is responding to the industrial character of the street." The articulated brick facade "closes the gap" between the historic storefronts. "There was a lot of work done on the brick itself to accent its richness," he says.

The heavily windowed east side faces the South Platte River as a counterpoint to Platte Street. "The idea is to bring nature into and through the building," says McIntyre.

The river, the bike path and the courtyard are part of this concept, as is a 425-square-foot green wall within the ground-floor lobby. The courtyard doubles as an amenity and a passive storm water quality filtration system, the first of its kind in Denver. Pillars and other structural elements guide water through the system and into the river.

"The infrastructure is celebrated," says Tryba, noting the firm's work at Denver Botanic Gardens helped inform the design. "Fully integrating landscape with the building is a critical element in our body of work."

The building is aligned on an axis between two of Denver's most vibrant neighborhoods: LoDo and LoHi.

"You have that view in both directions: Up the hill to Lower Highlands and straight to Union Station and 17th Street behind it," says McIntyre. "There are also views within the site. It is a community of buildings rather than a single building.”

Flexible floor plans push office space to the wings and public space into the heart of the building. "It adds community through circulation," says McIntyre. "We're bringing people together at this central vertical connection."

BP's Lower 48 Headquarters will occupy the third through fifth floors – about 70 percent of the square footage – with interiors designed by Stantec. Ground-floor retail tenants, including Maria Empanada, are due to open by early 2019.

Among the office highlights are:

  • 240 offices constructed out of glass demountable partitions, with floor-to-ceiling windows providing views of the Platte River and the downtown skyline. 
  • The Unity Café—A cafeteria space with a 52-foot-long table created from a single tree. 
  • The Base—A ground-floor gathering space with moveable glass walls that open to views of the Platte River featuring a bar-top seating area, custom-made aspen canopy, a media wall, fireplace and ping-pong tables that convert to conventional tables for meetings or dining.
  • The Nest—A two-story gathering space that meshes the work and social environments. Netting creates a hammock between the third and fourth floors, while large swings provide a hangout or comfortable work space. A moss wall and floor-to-ceiling windows create a unique indoor/outdoor working space.
  • A three-story “X” staircase modeled after drilling rigs used in the oil and gas industry, emphasizing the company’s business, while offering an inspirational alternative to the elevator.

"We selected the Riverview building because of its striking contemporary design and prime location – right in the heart of an authentic local community that fronts one of most beautiful natural river systems in the city," says Laura Leffler, chief of staff and head of communications and culture of BP's U.S. Lower 48 onshore oil and gas business. "We believe it will be the perfect home for the premier company we are building in Denver."

Trammell Crow Company acquired the site from Empire Staple in 2015 and worked with Saunders Construction to bring the Tryba vision to life. Ground was broken in 2016.

"Tryba Architects responded to an extremely unique location with the site plan and building design for Riverview at 1700 Platte Street," says Bill Mosher, senior managing director of Trammell Crow. The end result, he adds, "has attracted important credit tenants, celebrates nature in the city, and successfully contributes to Platte Street as a place."

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Eric Peterson

Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com

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