District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority


New Headquarters

Washington, DC

150,000 SF | 13,900 M2

Architecture, Engineering, Lighting Design

Sustainable Programs
LEED for New Construction & Major Renovations (NC) LEED-NC-Platinum

Jurors' Citation in Conceptual - Unbuilt Architecture, Jury Citation Award

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DC Water, Washington DC’s metropolitan water and sewer authority, sought to create a new headquarters facility to consolidate its administrative functions with flexible and functional office space, while being an example of state-of-the-art sustainable design. It selected a site it already owned in a burgeoning new neighborhood in the District: acreage along the Anacostia River containing the 1960’s O Street Pump Station and the adjacent Historic Pump Station. Because two-thirds of the metro area’s sewer outflow passes through the two stations, it was imperative the facility remain operational and accessible throughout construction. What’s more, virtually all the below-grade surface area houses massive and fragile clay infrastructure that was more than 100 years old.

Developed as a design-build collaboration between SmithGroupJJR and Skanska, the new headquarters design arcs along the riverfront with a bold glass and aluminum curtain wall partially supported by a 200-foot-long, four-story truss in order to isolate it from the existing 1960’s pump station. The building’s lobby doubles as an interpretive center, where visitors can clearly see portions of the pumping station at work and learn about the building and site’s many sustainable features. An innovative heat recovery/rejection system utilizes heat from the pumping station’s wastewater treatment operations to condition the new building, making it one of the most-energy efficient office buildings in the Mid-Atlantic region. A 30,000-gallon cistern captures rainwater for onsite reuse. Tinted glass sun shades provide passive shading in strategic locations and reduce energy use while maximizing daylighting and the panoramic river views. In all, the new headquarters provides an outstanding work environment, while embodying and expressing best practices in environmental stewardship.