Centennial Development Corp. this week announced plans for a $25 million office complex overlooking the Dulles airport road corridor in Reston.
The complex, which will contain two buildings, is expected to encompass 250,000 square feet of office space. To be known as The Summit at Reston, the project will be located between Sunrise Valley Drive and the airport road corridor.
When completed, the project will bring the total square footage owned and managed by Centennial in the Sunrise Valley area "to just about a million square feet," according to Alan J. Fink, Centennial's project development manager. The total includes buildings currently under construction in what is known as Sunrise Technology Park, and an existing building currently occupied by Tandem Computers. The Tandem building was built specifically for use by that computer company.
Centennial has hired the internationally known firm, The Architects Collaborative (TAC), to design the project. John Sheehy will be the principal architect in charge of TAC's design team.
In an interview this week at Centennial Development's new headquarters near Tysons Corner, Sheehy said he has spent "two or three months working out what would be the best use of the 400,000-square-foot site."
"We looked at the site in reference to the context of the rest of Reston . . . ," he said. He pointed to the site across the Dulles road where there is what he called "a visual connection" with Reston's new Town Center development, which is expected to include an estimated 800,000 square feet of office space and several hotels.
"We also looked at the relationship of the site to the highway," Sheehy continued. He said the importance of quality development on the site is emphasized by its proximity to Washington-Dulles International Airport. Fairfax County's comprehensive land use plan has tight height and architectural standards for construction on sites along the corridor.
The two Summit buildings will be built close to the road, and "by keeping the buildings close together, we were able to have 24 percent open space," Sheehy said. "The standard in Reston is 15 percent."
As Sheehy maneuvered styrofoam models of the two buildings across a site plan of the project during a recent interview, he pointed out that the two buildings will be basically "boat-shaped. Terracing of the floors, starting at the fourth floor, will help break down the visual mass of the building.
"We wanted to get away from the development box" that dominates the landscape of much of Northern Virginia's developed areas, the architect explained.
"The two buildings are set at 90-degree angles to provide views from up and down the Dulles corridor," Sheehy said. They will be connected by an atrium that was not in the original plans; but once the models were finished, Centennial officials decided they should be connected.
Centennial's Fink pointed to a national trend of connecting buildings within a complex by walkways or atriums.
The site is already zoned to accommodate the development.
Fink said his company is getting ready to file final site plans and technical studies with the Fairfax Department of Environmental Management for approval. That process is expected to take about six months.
He predicted that construction would start on the first of the two buildings in June, with occupancy planned by January 1987. Construction will begin on the second building in June 1987, Fink said.
Pete Scamardo, president of Centennial Development, said, "We are very proud of our decision and we are confident that the work of The Architects Collaborative will ensure our bringing landmark buildings to Reston."
The TAC group was founded 40 years ago by Walter Gropius, the creator of the Bauhaus.
TAC will design the site, plan the buildings and provide the landscape plan. The Annandale architectural firm of Beery, Rio & Associates will produce working drawings in collaboration with TAC.
Sheehy, TAC's chief of The Summit project, was the architect for Copley Place, a $350 million mixed-use development in Boston and is currently involved in major office park development in San Francisco, Houston and Pittsburgh.