When Group Goetz Architects (GGA) decided to move from the central business district of Washington, D.C., to the Georgetown neighborhood, the firm saw an opportunity to put its philosophy into practice and create one of the city’s few LEED Platinum office interiors. “We wanted the office to be the highest level LEED that we could achieve,” says Lewis J. Goetz, president and CEO. “It’s hard to be talking to your clients about LEED when your own space is not at a high level.”
Achieving platinum presented a challenge since the seven-story K Street building was not LEED certified. It did offer a green roof, bike parking with showers, and proximity to mass transit, but the interior needed special consideration. GGA worked with the landlord on ways to affordably incorporate sustainable elements into the buildout of its 12,640-square-foot shell as well as in the communal bathrooms shared with other tenants. The interior design harnesses natural daylight from three walls of windows, flooding more than 90 percent of the office with light. Low-mercury fluorescent bulbs by Osram Sylvania in fixtures by Zumtobel are controlled by a system of sensors and dimmers that reduce lighting use by 35 percent. Furniture from the old office was repurposed, and the new furniture and finishing materials are renewable and locally sourced. In all, the design nets 44 points on the LEED rating system.
In addition to sustainability considerations, GGA also wanted the new environment to foster collaboration and mobility. The office is organized around one main artery that separates two primary work areas. On one end is the reception area; on the other, the designers’ work studio.
The main corridor houses public functions such as a library, an employee lounge with a fireplace, and conference rooms. In the designers’ studio, there are no private offices. All staff, including the executive team, works out of large open spaces with stunning views of the city. “It’s an egalitarian and dynamic environment,” Goetz says. And then there are the other perks, such as healthy vending machines and wine and espresso bars.
The resultant space is a bright modern interior that belies its green credentials, an achievement that was very much by design. “Clients walking in don’t think it’s necessarily LEED,” Goetz says. “I wanted to show people that you could make beautiful spaces that can also be LEED Platinum.”