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Adaptive Reuse of 1970s Suburban Office Towers

Crystal Plaza
Arlington, Virginia, USA

The Crystal Plaza redevelopment involves the phased demolition and replacement of four high-rise office buildings that were part of Arlington’s Crystal City urban development in the early 1970s.

The project takes advantage of Arlington County’s innovative development programs, which offer developers additional height and density in exchange for including affordable housing and an environmentally sustainable design approach to the new construction.

Due to their construction type, small floor areas and low floor-to-floor heights, these buildings no longer meet the criteria for Class A office space.

The redevelopment includes re-planning an entire city block and designing a new mixed-use complex consisting of three 15-story office buildings, a 20-story residential tower, new street-front retail and four levels of parking below grade. It represents a unique opportunity to re-orient the Crystal City streetscape toward a traditionally urban, pedestrian-friendly environment with animated storefronts and high-quality landscaping and street furniture.

For the adaptive re-use of the vacant office building at 220 20th Street, lower residential floor loads allowed for the addition of six new floors and a rooftop pool deck to the existing structure. The original pre-cast concrete and brown-tinted glass facade was removed and replaced with a lighter, all-glass facade.

Though the buildings are connected to the Metro system and underground mall below grade, each will have its own street-level entry lobby. Each building will also have separate loading and parking entries and dedicated parking.

LEED certification 

LEED Silver


Master Planning


AIA Virginia – Architecture Award of Excellence

Delta Associates – Awards for Excellence in the Apartment & Condominium Industry Awards for Excellence, Best Mid-Atlantic Adaptive Reuse Apartment Project

NAIOP Northern Virginia – Award of Excellence, Best Building Renovation Adaptive Re-Use