A Skidmore, Owings and Merrill-designed project has topped out in Fargo, North Dakota, becoming the city's tallest building and the second tallest in the state. The 18-storey Block 9 will contain a range of uses, including condominiums, a new corproate headquarters for R.D. Offutt Company, and a 125-key boutique hotel developed by Aparium Hotel Group.

Block 9, image via Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

The 71-metre-tall development replaces a 48,000-square-foot surface parking lot in the heart of Downtown Fargo at the corner of Broadway and Second Avenue North. Kilbourne Group and R.D. Offutt Company broke ground on the project in September 2018.

The design of Block 9 takes inspiration from Fargo's vernacular architecture while referencing the grain silos that pepper the North Dakota landscape. The building's multi-storey podium pays deference to the architectural vocabulary of its neighbours, with the tower above introducing large floor-to-ceiling windows to the envelope. The glass facade is broken up by vertical fins that accentuate the building's slender profile.

Block 9, image via Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

The fifth floor of the tower will be home to an outdoor terrace and a multifunction ballroom and conference space overlooking an adjacent programmed plaza, which will include a band shell for live performances, interactive water features, and a skating rink for winter.

Block 9, image via Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

"Fargo is the future of great American mid-sized cities, representing a rich heritage and quality of life while fostering the opportunity to create a new urban story," said SOM Design Partner Brian Lee. "With sensitivity to the history, scale, and rhythm of the city, Block 9 supports a vibrant, mixed-used program to strengthen the urban fabric and activate Fargo's downtown area."

Block 9 is on track for completion in 2020.

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