SmithGroup and Skanska announce design-build project for new DC Water Headquarters

SmithGroup and Skanska announce design-build project for new DC Water Headquarters

Designed by SmithGroup over an existing pump station along the Anacostia River, the new building will reinforce the mission of DC Water and feature innovation in sustainable design never before seen in the U.S.

SmithGroup, partnering with Skanska, will design and build a new 150,000-square-foot, six-story headquarters facility for the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water).

The new $60 million headquarters will be constructed on the site of the existing O Street Pump Station along the waterfront of the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington, DC and serve as the new public face for the agency. DC Water’s green initiatives will be showcased in a deeply innovative facility featuring a bold and distinctive design developed by SmithGroup, in collaboration with builder, Skanska. While the building is designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, it also employs many advanced strategies that will surpass LEED Platinum certification. 

Construction of the headquarters is scheduled to be complete in 2017.

“We purposefully designed this building to be a major departure from the boxy architectural forms that dominate the Washington, DC landscape,” said Sven Shockey, design director at SmithGroup’s Washington, DC office. “The design’s fluid form is the result of leveraging the constraints of the chosen site to create a jewel of a building. The new headquarters building will improve DC Water’s visibility within the city and be something Washingtonians can point to proudly.”

SmithGroup’s integrated design team of architects, engineers and lighting specialists used sustainable strategies to sculpt the building inside and out. The design team leveraged a series of high-tech daylighting and energy analyses to contour the form of the new building. Its fluid architectural shape wraps around the existing O Street Pump Station, but remains separate allowing full access to the station’s critical operations during and after construction. Solar heat gain and glare are reduced through a unique stepping of the floors. A series of green-tinted glass sun shades hung from the facade provide additional control over daylighting and heat gain. While the curving facade alleviates over-abundant daylighting in the building, it also responds to the bending frontage of the Anacostia River. The headquarters will offer panoramic views of the river, visually connecting occupants to the very essence of DC Water’s mission—water.

The design of the building’s heating and cooling system minimizes energy use by incorporating new technologies not yet seen in the U.S. The SmithGroup team is advancing the use of a unique wastewater thermal system, cited as the first use of this technology in a commercial building in the U.S. This system will allow DC Water to use its own wastewater as a source of thermal energy to condition the building. With two-thirds of all the outflow from DC’s sewers flowing through the underground infrastructure on the site, the system will have a virtually uninterruptible supply of thermal energy. Utilizing this technology, the design team has calculated that the new headquarters will take its place as one of the lowest energy-consuming office buildings in the region.

“The idea of building a 150,000-square-foot headquarters building directly over a pumping station would normally be viewed as implausible,” said SmithGroup’s Corporate Director of Engineering Don Posson. “But by doing so, DC Water will be able to leverage the station’s wastewater to provide enough power to heat and cool this large building. It’s a breakthrough solution and a perfect complement to DC Water’s objective of a greener, healthier District of Columbia.”

SmithGroup's Washington, DC office is providing architectural design, MEP engineering, and sustainable design services. Other key design team members include landscape architect Oehme van Sweden (Washington, DC); structural engineer SK&A Engineers, PLLC (Washington, DC); associate architect and associate structural engineer Leuterio Thomas (Oxon Hill, Maryland); associate MEP engineer JVP Engineers, P.C. (Washington, DC); and civil/site engineer Wiles Mensch Corporation (Washington, DC).

For more information about SmithGroup, please visit our Company Fact Sheet.

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the U.S., serving a broad range of clients including those in transportation, power, industrial, water/wastewater, healthcare, education, sports, data centers, life sciences, aviation and commercial.  Headquartered in New York with offices in 31 metro areas, the firm has nearly 11,000 employees committed to being leaders in safety, project execution, sustainability, ethics and people development.