expertise > Repositioning
Eaton House a repositioned historic building


The repositioning of an existing building is an increasingly popular strategic approach to adding significant value to a given property - whether the intention is to retain or attract new tenants or accommodate different uses. According to the 2022 AIA Firm Survey Report, 48% of the profession’s current design work involves the reconstruction of existing buildings, reflecting a substantial increase from 34% in 2005. Compared to new construction, the repositioning of existing projects can be more attractive to building owners and developers for not only their potential to achieve sustainable decarbonization goals but also for offering shorter permitting and project delivery times as well as minimizing disruption to the neighborhood. In reimaging an existing building, potential considerations can include engaging an expanded audience, modernization of its design and infrastructure, and providing alternative uses for currently inactive spaces.

As post-pandemic city centers evolve and begin to redefine themselves, existing assets can be repositioned to ideally be more suited to the specific urban fabric of their neighborhood. Expanding the uses or amenities of a building or creating adjacencies that complement each other are potential opportunities to create dynamic and active urban environments. For example, incorporating a healthcare center with a healthy-focused juice bar, wellness studio or gym creates a well-rounded destination. This diversity of uses fosters an animated and lively community and expands the site’s social activity level throughout the entire day and week.

Built campus allows for mobility and recreation

Buildings designed 50 or 100 years ago, while still sound, are often unable to meet the demands of the technological expectations of the modern tenant. Personal mobility and seamless access to technology are priorities in creating a modernized building to work, live and play. Design that encourages wellness and movement through open stairs, integrated greenspace and access to daylight are key interventions to providing healthy and inviting interior environments. The efficient modernization of infrastructure, mechanical systems and enclosure can augment indoor air quality and user comfort while assuring the building’s resilience and financial viability for generations.

The recent efforts to augment access to public transit, secure bike lanes, pedestrian-only streets and urban densification has begun to alleviate car traffic in cities across the country. With this cultural shift, parking areas within buildings have become underutilized spaces that can be optimally repurposed for modern uses. For owners and developers, the innovative repurposing of these parking areas can potentially accommodate immersive media spaces, data centers or new tenant amenities. Bike hubs, commuter lockers, concierge services, or ride-share drop-offs can be integrated into the arrival and departure experiences of these refreshed buildings to support the expectations of the next-generation of commuters.

Biker commutes in Kendall Square

Northwestern Mutual today held a kickoff celebration with the Milwaukee community for its $500 million North Office Building Modernization project. The North Office Building, located at 818 East Mason Street in downtown Milwaukee, will be transformed to expand the company's world-class workplace and employee experience.  

Read more at Northwestern Mutual 

Pickard Chilton’s designs have contributed to the revitalization of historic neighborhoods through a number of thoughtful repositioning projects. From our inaugural adaptive-reuse of Eaton House in Dublin, Ireland, to our work in Düsseldorf, Germany with Le Coeur in the bustling Königsallee district, and our contributions to the fabric of Washington DC with 600 Fifth Street, we have honed the art of drawing inspiration from the surrounding architectural landscape to revitalize these structures.

The repositioning of a building is a strategic approach to add significant value to the property’s current value whether the intention is to retain tenants, recruit new tenants, and attract new users. Compared to new construction, repositioning projects can be more attractive to developers for the potential of sustainable decarbonization design goals, in addition to offering shorter project delivery times and disruption to the neighborhood. Considerations when reimaging an existing structure can include engaging an expanded audience, design for modernization and providing alternatives for inactive parking space.

Ample outdoor spaces designed by Pickard Chilton architects

Rockefeller Group and Stonebridge have begun construction on 600 Fifth, a 400,000-square-foot redevelopment office project in Washington, D.C. The groundbreaking marks the closing of a 99-year ground lease with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro), which remains the ground lessor of the property.

Read more at Commercial Property Executive 

Ample outdoor spaces designed by Pickard Chilton architects

Located in the Penn Quarter district, 600 Fifth Street NW comprises the complete repositioning and renovation of the existing eight-story building plus the addition of three new floors, creating unparalleled views across Judiciary Square to the US Capitol for tenants and visitors.

The high-performance office building fully meets post-COVID health and safety expectations and features state-of-the-art mechanical systems and generous exterior terrace work spaces. The building offers nearly 400,000 square feet (37,000 square meters) of contiguous Class-A office space with 20,000 gsf (1,858 m2) of ground floor retail.

Designed with the users in mind, 600 Fifth holistically reimagines the entire city block. Maximizing natural light and access to fresh air, a series of verdant terraces step up across the building’s façade. At ground level, the public pedestrian experience has been enhanced with a thoughtfully landscaped urban park with a water feature. It is expected that this highly amenitized, next-generation office building will be at the intersection of business, entertainment and culture, and bring new energy and healthful vitality to the District.

Le Coeur sets a best-in-class standard for commercial office and retail space

Located along the Königsallee, Düsseldorf’s preeminent retail and business address, Le Coeur sets a best-in-class standard for commercial office and retail space within this central business district.

Street view of the PG&E historic complex

Architects and real-estate developers are pioneering concepts to entice workers who will permanently split their time between home and office. Here are the innovations you’ll see in coming years.


Workplaces that look like your living room; flexible, multiuse spaces; outdoor terraces. Today’s new hybrid work styles are reshaping the office buildings of tomorrow.

Leading architects and real-estate developers are pioneering concepts aimed at workers who are splitting their time between home and office, and they predict these innovations will become mainstream in the years to come.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal 

Timing was everything in Northwestern Mutual’s decision to spend more than $500 million to rebuild its North Office Building, located at 818 E. Mason St. on its downtown Milwaukee headquarters campus.

Present at Thursday’s press conference was architect Jon Pickard, principal at New Haven, Connecticut-based Pickard Chilton. The company is one of two architectural firms involved in designing the new North Office Building.

Pickard explained what helped guide him during the design process, and at the heart of the renovation is a desire to allow employees to reconnect with nature, which will in turn boost their health and happiness.

“I think one of the things that guides us is the fact that people do best when they’re in touch with nature. One of the things we’re going to bring to the new North Office Building is access to that (nature),” said Pickard.

Included in the renovation plans are connecting structures and a pedestrian plaza on North Cass Street. Workspaces will also be redesigned for more collaborative work.

“My north star is how do we create a best-in-class experience not just for the people that are here on a day-to-day basis, but also the community,” said Pickard.

Read more at Biz Times 

Downtown Milwaukee is getting a $500 million upgrade. Northwestern Mutual is closing its office space in Franklin and redeveloping its North Office Building on E. Mason Street in downtown Milwaukee.

MILWAUKEE - Downtown Milwaukee is getting a $500 million upgrade. Northwestern Mutual is closing its office space in Franklin and redeveloping its North Office Building on E. Mason Street in downtown Milwaukee. 

Company leaders said this investment will transform the company and downtown.

Read more at Fox 6 Now 


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