Design-Build for Transportation/Aviation Conference General Session Spotlight: Behind the Scenes of an Award-Winning Project

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority DC Headquarters

Join us next month at the Design-Build for Transportation/Aviation Conference, April 17-19, in Cincinnati, Ohio, for a conversation with the team behind the renovation of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) DC Headquarters.

The Panel

The panel will take you Behind the Scenes of the Award-Winning WMATA headquarters located in the L’Enfant neighborhood in Washington, D.C. Representatives from the design-build team will explore the team’s decision to choose design-build delivery, the benefits of doing so, key elements of team dynamics that led to extraordinary project success and valuable lessons others can leverage for similar achievements.


Owner: Nia Rubin, Director of Real Estate Development, WMATA

Owner Advisor: Renee Brown, CCM, Project Manager, Jacobs

Design-Builder: Matt Ames, Senior Project Executive, Gilbane Building Company

Designer: Rachel Kenney, AIA, Associate Principal, STUDIOS Architecture

Interior Designer: Jennifer Griffith, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, Director, Interiors, McKissack and McKissack

Development Partner: Greg Ward, Director of Development, Jair Lynch

The Project

In 2019, WMATA embarked on a transformative journey to renovate an inefficient eight-floor, 1960s building into an 11-story, high-performance mixed-use building. The project aimed to engage with the neighborhood, elevate WMATA employees’ office experience and authentically translate the transit mission to the workplace.

Fast-forward to 2022, and this award-winning design-build project has not only met but exceeded expectations. The building’s design serves the mission and the urban community, incorporating ground-level spaces for public hearings and the Transit Accessibility Center — a hub dedicated to addressing accessible transportation needs. The renovation also demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability, achieving LEED Gold and aiming for LEED Platinum® v4 through energy credits. 

The project team surpassed its 30% goal for UBE participation by 10%, fostering diversity and economic vitality. The renovation transformed an eyesore in the neighborhood into a modern, sustainable and welcoming space, supporting the community with spaces for public hearings, a new Transit Accessibility Center, retail space and artwork by local artists.

Awards and Recognition

In 2023, DBIA recognized the WMATA DC Headquarters for Merit and Excellence Awards in Renovation/Restoration, Best in Architectural Design Award, Meaningful DEI Practices Award and the prestigious Chair’s Award for its community impact, environmental stewardship and outstanding accomplishments in diversity, equity and inclusion.

Nia Rubin also shared insights about the project in an interview for the Design-Build Delivers Podcast episode “Celebrating DBIA’s 2023 Design-Build Conference & Expo Winning Teams, Projects and People” in November 2023.

Conference Information

Design-Build for Water/Wastewater: April 15-17

Design-Build for Transportation/Aviation: April 17-19

Location: Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati, Ohio