Blue Rock Renovates Historic SEI Farmhouse

IdeaFarm includes a new 18’ x 13’ glass door and window that opens up to a new flagstone patio, seat wall and fireplace.
IdeaFarm includes a new 18’ x 13’ glass door and window that opens up to a new flagstone patio, seat wall and fireplace.

Blue Rock renovated an 18th-century farmhouse into a modern gathering place for SEI Investments while maintaining historic details. The original farmhouse dates to 1744 and includes an addition built in 1799.

SEI recently announced the grand opening of the IdeaFarm, located on the campus of SEI’s corporate headquarters in Oaks, PA. The historic building offers employees, clients, and partners a stimulating and interactive environment to foster and develop problem-solving skills and revolutionary thinking.

Blue Rock installed new reclaimed flooring and heavy timber trusses to create an open concept gathering space.
Blue Rock installed new reclaimed flooring and heavy timber trusses to create an open concept gathering space.

Project highlights performed by Blue Rock include:

  • Demolished remaining floor joist and roof structure.
  • Installed new reclaimed flooring and heavy timber trusses to create an open concept gathering space. This includes a new 18’ x 13’ glass door and window opening up to a new flagstone patio, seat wall and fireplace.
  • All of the existing windows were replaced to match the look and style of the existing building.
  • A small addition was constructed to house the mechanical equipment as well as provide new restrooms
One of the IdeaFarm's breakout areas on the second floor.
One of the IdeaFarm’s breakout areas on the second floor.

The IdeaFarm provides innovation champions with a wide array of tools to encourage creativity:

  • Cutting-edge technology, such as digital/touch-screen whiteboards, wireless audio, and wireless projection.
  • Software to facilitate mind mapping, card sorting, and prototyping.
  • Manual tools to stimulate the brain, including Play-Doh, Legos, Yo-Yos, playbooks, and Rubik’s cubes.
SEI Farmhouse – BEFORE

Contemporary furniture on wheels replaces traditional seated conference tables, contrasting the original farmhouse architecture and allowing innovators to adapt the environment to their collaborative needs.

SEI Farmhouse – BEFORE

The space also features a wooden swing, a bench crafted from the front end the front end of a London taxi, and glass doors that double as writable surfaces for brainstorming. The original hardwood floors have been repurposed as shelving throughout the space and compromised support beams have been replaced with ones from historic barns.

SEI employees will be certified by third-party professionals to facilitate creative sessions at the IdeaFarm. These trained facilitators will help direct effective engagement, collaboration, and discovery through various strategies and processes, including storyboarding and journey mapping.

“The IdeaFarm strengthens our innovative culture, which is the very foundation of our company,” said Russ Kliman, Head of Strategic Programs and Innovation for SEI. “This space empowers forward-thinking to explore next steps in business evolution, as well as grow ideas that enable our clients to take full advantage of our products and services.”

Built around 1740 and situated near the defunct Perkiomen Railroad, the farmhouse walls literally hold hundreds of years of history. While transforming the weary farmhouse into the IdeaFarm, contractors tearing down drywall uncovered a revised second-edition spelling book, which was inscribed with the year 1799 and the name Thomas Wade (born in 1776 and died in 1870). Caleb Cresson purchased the home in 1862, shortly before Wade died. Cresson was related to the Wetherills, an affluent and legendary family in the Oaks area. The farmhouse’s continued sense of purpose provides opportunities for past reflection and future inspiration.

 

About SEI
SEI (NASDAQ:SEIC) is a leading global provider of investment processing, investment management, and investment operations solutions that help corporations, financial institutions, financial advisors, and ultra-high-net-worth families create and manage wealth. As of December 31, 2016, through its subsidiaries and partnerships in which the company has a significant interest, SEI manages or administers $751 billion in hedge, private equity, mutual fund and pooled or separately managed assets, including $283 billion in assets under management and $468 billion in client assets under administration. For more information, visit seic.com.

 

Historic Honor for Blue Rock Construction

Urban Building 18

Urban Building 18aBlue Rock Construction will be honored by the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia during its 23rd annual Preservation
Achievement Awards
in recognition for its historic renovation on Building 18 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

On June 8 at the Union League of Philadelphia, Blue Rock will be among the honorees receiving the organization’s Grand Jury Award.

Originally, the 92,000-square-foot building built in 1909 was a boiler and blacksmith shop. The building’s low number–18–means it was built relatively early in the Navy Yard’s history, since the buildings are numbered roughly in order based on date of construction.

Today, Building 18 serves as the 11th building in Urban Outfitters’ portfolio at The Navy Yard, and is the headquarters for one of its brands, Anthropologie.

Urban Building 18bSome highlights of the project include:

  • 110,000 square feet of office space with raised floor slabs
  • Exterior masonary remained, repointed throughout and rebricked in certain areas to meet Historical Preservation standards
  • Replacement of existing exterior windows to meet Historical Preservation standards
  • Skylights throughout with an EPDM roof
  • Adding its own central Plant
  • Two mechanical mezzanines hanging from two existing 20-ton cranes

Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia is a nonprofit, membership organization whose mission is to promote the appreciation, protection, and revitalization of the Philadelphia region’s historic buildings, communities and landscapes.

Click HERE to see a full list of 2016 award winners.