WMATA’s impact on the community, stewardship of the environment, and achievement of DEI objectives were extraordinary accomplishments to merit this award. The project team surpassed its 30% goal for MWDBE participation by 10%, fostering diversity and economic vitality. This achievement is highlighted by the project’s focus on local business participation, community integration and the inclusion of partners from start to finish. This project transformed an eyesore in the neighborhood into a modern, sustainable and welcoming space. The design supported the community by incorporating spaces for public hearings, a new Transit Accessibility Center that supports transportation needs for customers with disabilities, much-needed retail space for the neighborhood, and artwork commissioned by local artists.
Meaningful DEI Practices:
One of the project goals established by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for their DC Headquarters renovation was 30% MWDBE participation. Their efforts included hosting three targeted outreach sessions soliciting companies certified as local, small, women-owned, or veteran-owned firms, resulting in WMATA surpassing its goal by 10%. A letter from one of the MWDBE firms indicated their role was critical to maintaining the integrity of WMATA’s design goals based on the diverse talents and backgrounds of the team, helping drive creativity and ensuring the project team thought differently throughout the entire design and construction process.
Best in Design (Architecture):
The WMATA DC Headquarters renovation incorporates leading-edge sustainability, health and wellness, and community improvement. Sustainable features of the LEED Platinum certified building include state-of-the-art air filtration and fresh air circulation systems; energy- and cost-saving automatic daylight sensor lighting and controls, waste and recycling management, cooling tower water reuse; and access to outdoor spaces. The team’s choices in materials, design accents, and mission-inspired environmental graphics gave the building a sense of community and belonging. The connective nature of the layout provides ample access to natural daylight, improves building navigation, and allows for unhindered views of the neighborhood.
Excellence in Rehabilitation, Renovation and Restoration
Merit Award – Rehabilitation, Renovation and Restoration
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) streamlined operations by consolidating multiple Metro-owned and leased regional offices. The DC Headquarters renovation was a pivotal part of this initiative, consolidating 10 existing facilities and leases into four owned facilities. This reduced WMATA’s office building footprint by 100,000 usable sq. ft. and is projected to yield a cost-saving benefit of $130 million over the next two decades. The project team worked closely with DC Public Space, DC Office of Zoning and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts to resolve the challenge of reusing the existing building structure sustainably.
Conveying a Mission, Engaging a Community and Improving the Work Environment
Objectives of the renovation included fostering community engagement within the L’Enfant neighborhood, enhancing the work environment for Metro employees and conveying the transit mission within the workplace. 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.
Strategic architectural enhancements played a crucial role in the project. A Streetscape Embellishment addressed ground floor and sidewalk elevation disparities, allowing the creation of dedicated retail space. An Architectural Embellishment repositioned egress stairs, optimizing natural light and views on office floors. The office space prioritizes wellness with fitness facilities, healthy food options, pedestrian-friendly layouts and outdoor area access.
The project overcame challenges imposed by its location above active Metro tunnels and an adjacent active railroad, necessitating innovative crane operation and material handling solutions. A review process led to the selection of a specialized luffing crane, enabling safe material handling.
The renovation also demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability, achieving LEED Gold and aiming for LEED Platinum® v4 through energy credits. The choice of the site and building reuse significantly minimized the carbon footprint. Carefully selecting building systems, materials and stormwater management practices contributed to sustainability achievements. Stormwater management featured green roofs, infiltration facilities and hydrodynamic separators that surpassed requirements, while energy optimization efforts resulted in a reduction equivalent to 534 fewer cars driven over a year.
The project team surpassed its 30% goal for MWDBE participation by 10%, fostering diversity and economic vitality. This achievement is highlighted by the project’s focus on local business participation, community integration and the inclusion of MWDBE partners from conception to closeout.
The team’s innovation and commitment to WMATA’s objectives enabled a high-performance, sustainable and community-centric facility to be realized. This renovation epitomizes the successful convergence of sustainable design, community engagement and workplace enhancement.
|Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)
|Gilbane Building Company
|STUDIOS, NIA, McKissack McKissack
|Wiles Mensch Corporation; Tadjer Cohen Edelson; Bala Consulting Engineers
|Jair Lynch; Interface Engineering; BOWA Construction