The old building was an energy hog, outdated and slated for demolition. But as part of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the owner, U. S. General Services Administration, hired Cutler Anderson Architects as Design Architect, with SERA Architects as Executive Architect to modernize the existing 18-story building to make it energy efficient, expand rentable space and increase blast resistance.
The building’s facades are tuned to respond to solar gain on each side; horizontal light shelves on the south and east sides, with vertical ‘reeds’ providing shade on the west. A mixture of evergreen and deciduous vegetation weaves through the reeds to provide shade in the summer and optimize daylight during the winter months. The exterior light shelves which bounce daylight 16 feet toward interior spaces are combined with occupancy sensors and task lighting to reduce overall energy loads.
A rainwater collecting roof canopy supports a 13,000 sq. ft. photovoltaic array and funnels water to a 165,000-gallon cistern in the basement which was repurposed from an old gun range. This water will be used in irrigation, low-flow toilets and a mechanical cooling tower. By expanding the envelope, the team added 31,000 of new office space.
This project began with a High Performance Green Building Workshop, where the design teams employed building information modeling (BIM) technology to develop and analyze data. The findings were then synthesized into an aesthetic expression to communicate sustainability on an emotional level, both inside and out. This LEED Platinum building will act as a showcase for renovation of other federal properties.