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ZGF Architect wins $61 million US contact for Homeland Security HQ

ZGF Architects of Portland, Oregon won a $61-million contract for design services for the US Department of Homeland Security headquarters facility in Washington, D.C.

The General Services Administration awarded the contact to ZGF, which bested five other firms for the contracts, according to the award notice posted on Federal Business Opportunities website. The five other short listed firms were: Goody Clancy, Boston; Gund Partnership, Inc., Cambridge, Mass.; Kallmann McKinnell & Wood Architects, Inc., Boston; Robert A. M. Stern Architects, LLP, New York and RTKL Associates, Inc., Washington, D.C.

The ZGF contract covers about 2.1 million square feet of a 4.5-million-square-foot DHS headquarters complex at the historic St. Elizabeths Hospital site. The DHS the largest federal construction project since the Pentagon was built during World War II, according to the GSA.

The former St. Elizabeths Hospital was established in 1855 as the first Federal government hospital for people with mental illnesses. Its early mission, as defined by one of its founders, Dorothea Dix, was to provide the most humane care and enlightened curative treatment for members of the Army and Navy, and District of Columbia residents. The site, which sits on more than 300 acres, is a National Historic Landmark and includes a significant collection of historic buildings dating from the 1850s through the early 20th century. The proposed location for the subject projects is the southern portion of the West Campus in an area that was the focus of the second major phase of construction of hospital buildings during the early decades of the 20th century.

The noted Boston architectural firm of Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge designed much of the historic building stock in the project area. The landscape surrounding the historic building stock is considered significant as a contributing component to as an ornamental and therapeutic landscape.

As part of the contract, ZGF will design four new office buildings, an addition to an existing historic structure, plus three parking garages, mail sorting facility and childcare centre. Those office buildings will house four DHS agencies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Transportation Security Administration, according to the GSA announcement.

The project, designed to emphasize natural daylight, is will be seeking at least LEED Gold under the USGBC rating system, according to ZGF.

The design team includes Einhorn Yaffee Prescott, Syska Hennessey Group, Olin and Thornton Tomasetti. In August 2009, Perkins and Will, HDG, Good Clancy, HOK, WGD Architecture and Clark Construction Group won a $435 million deign-build contact for the first phase of the development – a new headquarters for the US Coast Guard. Occupancy for that building is slated for 2013.

The overall $3.4 billion project will add 4.5 million square feet of office space and 1.5 million square feet for parking. Spanning both the historic West Campus and the new East Campus, a below-grade connection will link the two campuses. The full project is expected to be completed by 2016.

While some architects have bemoaned the lack of design opportunities available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, this project received $47.7 million in economic stimulus funds, according to the GSA.

ZGF, which has offices in Washington, DC, Los Angles, New York and Seattle and, have also designed the Portland International Airport, Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse in Santa Ana, Calif. and have on the boards a design for the US Department of Environmental Preservation Region 8 Headquarters in Denver.

Jennifer Potash
News Editor

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