Overlooking the Anacostia River and the capital’s monumental core, the 11-story project was commissioned by the U.S. General Services Administration.
HOK’s design for the courtyards, edges and green roofs provides continuity between the surrounding woodlands and the historic St. Elizabeths west campus. The courtyards, as with the building, step down from east to west toward a low area of the campus. This progression along a 120-foot hillside provides a canvas for the landscape concept. The physiographic region transitions from the Blue Ridge and outcrop barrens of the Piedmont plateau region to the lowlands of the coastal plain.
Our team designed the exterior spaces to be high-performance landscapes that serve ecological, aesthetic, program and educational functions.
A green roof features 400,000 square feet of plants from the Blue Ridge, Northern Piedmont, Southeastern Plains and Middle Atlantic Coastal Plain areas. Rainwater that falls onto the green roofs permeates through the plant roots and soil, is captured in the drainage system and moves down to the stormwater pond for reuse in irrigation. Because this had been a contaminated site, large amounts of soil were removed and replaced with custom soil blends.
In addition to the office areas, interior spaces include the main lobby and senior executive suite on the ground floor, conference center, childcare facility, medical clinic, law library and two commercial-grade kitchens.
We designed the interiors on each floor to complement the exterior landscape. Floors are organized by color and special wall treatments that align with the landscape visible through the windows. Together with the zinc panels on the exterior, the wenge and oak hardwood wall panels and floors contribute to a nautical aesthetic that is appropriate for the Coast Guard.
Our interior design brings daylight deep into the building, creating views to the outside for most occupants. Open work areas with low, modular furniture hug the window walls. Private offices are set deeper into the space, with sidelights providing light and views.
Occupancy and photo sensors help regulate the interior lighting, while manually controlled interior shades prevent glare. Combined with a lower ambient light level and task lighting, the design reduces the building’s overall lighting power density by more than 30%.
The design reduces overall energy use by 33% compared to the ASHRAE 90.1 standard. The building and its central utility plant were fully commissioned and are continuously monitored for optimized performance.
1.2 million sq. ft. / 111,000 sq. m.
31 acres / 12 hectares
DBIA- Design Build Honor Award, Civic Building
NAIOP Maryland/ DC Chapter- Award of Excellence, Best Institutional Facility
NAIOP Maryland/ DC Chapter- Award of Excellence, Best Sustainable Project
Number of plug plants
Square feet of green roof sedum mats
Number of shrubs
Number of trees
Energy use reduction compared to ASHRAE 90.1 standard
11 June 2015
“American Society of Landscape Architects Tours U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters”
31 August 2014
“U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, St. Elizabeths West Campus, Washington, United States, HOK”
7 October 2013
“Washington Business Journal on the New U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters”