Last year, ZGF Architects joined the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) Design Excellence program when they were tapped to build the GSA’s LEED Gold-certified Federal Center South project.
ZGF transformed a 4.6-acre brownfield site into a highly flexible 209,000-square-foot regional headquarters for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Northwest District. Utilizing the design-build delivery
model required to get American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds committed as quickly as possible, the project was planned and designed
in under 18 weeks and completed by the end of 2012.
The building’s unique oxbow form mimics those found in the adjacent Duwamish Waterway, accommodating the USACE’s constantly changing team-based work, while its narrow floorplate optimizes daylight penetration. The color-coded wayfinding and signage system was similarly inspired by the local historic waterway and organizes the building into four quadrants named for the tributaries that form the Duwamish River watershed: the White River, Green River, Black River and Cedar River.
The building’s three levels surround a central atrium which serves as the social heart of the building where all shared services are located. The open plan workstations surrounding it have panel heights of 50 inches or less, providing virtually everyone with a view to the outside. Two reclaimed timber-clad stairwells, located on the west ends of the oxbow, link the three floors and feature a dramatic glass window wall showcasing geographical and technical data about the Duwamish River.