Wenzhou City, China
Block 9 is a new mixed-use tower in downtown Fargo, North Dakota, at the corner of Broadway and 2nd Avenue. The result of a public-private partnership between the City of Fargo, the Kilbourne Group, and R.D. Offutt, Block 9 transforms a surface-level parking lot into a cultural and economic asset. Appropriate to its prominent location, the tower is set back from Broadway to preserve the rhythm and character of the streetscape, while its slender profile design references the architecture and materiality of neighboring buildings.
The tower’s articulation of two rounded squares takes inspiration from the vertical architecture of grain silos dotting the surrounding Great Plains landscape. The materiality of the precast enclosure reflects the textured layers of structure and enclosure that is typically found on the silos, corn cribs, and other agricultural buildings. In providing architectural, structural, and MEP services, SOM was able to maximize floor-to-floor height by integrating systems into structural voids, and minimize budget through similar time- and cost-effective solutions.
The podium embraces the street and adjacent public plaza with a pedestrian-friendly design that respects the scale of surrounding buildings. A public arcade, framed with wood to add texture and warmth, opens out to Broadway and serves as the building’s main entrance. A multi story atrium punctuates the interior of the office floors, with an open staircase connecting workplace levels. On the fifth floor of the tower, a wide outdoor terrace and glass-enclosed, multifunction ballroom and conference space overlooks the public plaza.
The commercial floors of the podium and tower house the new corporate headquarters for R.D. Offutt Company, bringing hundreds of jobs to downtown Fargo. A boutique hotel developed by Aparium Hotel Group will occupy several floors, with the highest floors dedicated to residences and condominiums featuring private balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, and expansive views of the city. Together, the mixed programming at Block 9 provides new opportunities to live and work downtown, bolstering the revitalization of downtown Fargo.