Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Where I Work!

As many of you know, I work for Urban Outfitter's Inc., the parent company of five of the most compelling brands: Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain and BHLDN.  (Ever heard of 'em?!) 

We're a Philadelphia founded and headquartered company, located at the old Philadelphia Navy Yard...and we have a pretty awesome campus!  So today, I thought I'd tell the story of how we got here and give share a virtual tour of where I work!    

Yup, thats my desk!

In the early 2000s, URBN had about 600 employees spread out over numerous buildings in downtown Philadelphia.  This dispersion of the employees was causing problems and our Founder, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Dick Hayne wanted to design a space that reflected his company's designs and products as well as fit the needs of the employees for space and creativity.  And with that vision, the company bought four buildings and leased a fifth in the abandoned Navy Yards for literally $1 in 2004!!

A picture of the warehouse and naval yards before the renovation

While renovation to transform the dilapidated old buildings into the 330,000 sq. ft of inspired, creative and light filled work spaces that houses all of the Urban Outfitters brands cost ~$100 million, many of the materials in the building were reused and reclaimed. 

URBN at the Navy Yard

The resulting look of the new campus is one that preserves the scars and reflects the history of the Navy and its construction and repair of naval vessels. Paint was left on walls, metal was sandblasted and left to rust, reclaimed wood was used to make new staircases and windows were removed, re-glazed, and reinstalled. 

And even more, the creative folks here make sure you unbdoubtedly know what brand building you've entered as soon as you walk into the lobby... 

Lobby of Anthropologie brand building

Lobby of Urban Outfitters brand building

Lobby of Free People brand building

Most of the offices and studios are open to the warehouse and light streams in from skylights and high windows on the multi-story warehouse buildings.

designers hard at work

A Free People conference room

Pathways surrounding the campus are reminiscent of railway lines and old broken up concrete pieces were artfully repositioned into "Barney Rubble," a sculpture in one of the plazas
"Barney Rubble" pathways surrounding the dog park
(and do you see that old hyperbaric chamber?!)

The campus also features lawns, a dog park (employees are allowed to bring their dogs to work), a gym, places to eat, a yoga studio, and even our own farmer’s market every other Wednesday!
Building 543
home to our gym, coffee shop and cafeteria
And a recently rennovated dry dock (with floating letters that spell out URBN) - the perfect spot for lunch...or company bbq.

Dry Dock

What do you think?  And what doess your office look like?


(Images via URBN and Inhabitat.com)


  1. interesting...that's a pretty rich building history. i've had a number of friends work there as designers over the years. the store urbn opened just off U.Cincinnati's campus back in 2001 (gut renovation of an abandoned church) was a great example of arch preservation. totally dig a company that decides to preserve and renovate rather than demolish and build new.

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