Press Releases 03.25.2022

New Perkins&Will D.C. Studio Cuts Carbon Emissions and Offers Maximum Flexibility

The transformation of a former Secret Service garage is a model of Living Design

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Perkins&Will is building on its longstanding commitment to environmental stewardship with the completion of its new Washington, D.C. workplace. The studio, designed by a Perkins&Will D.C. team, reduces embodied carbon by 56% compared to a typical office space. This aligns with the practice’s ambitious strategy—and pledge—to achieve meaningful carbon reduction with every office it designs by 2030.

Located at 1222 22nd St. NW, the new studio is an example of responsible design, embodying Perkins&Will’s commitment to Living Design—a research-informed approach to design that holistically addresses sustainability, resilience, well-being, and equity. Productivity and flexibility through a variety of work areas also support hybrid work configurations for Perkins&Will colleagues and clients, alike.

“Especially in a time of continued uncertainty, we’re ready to help our clients navigate changes to their new and existing spaces because we have experienced it ourselves,” said Chris Morrison, principal and managing director of Perkins&Will’s Washington, D.C. studio. “Our commitment to cutting embodied carbon also puts us ahead of the curve in terms of employing solutions to mitigate climate change.”

Capitol Cadillac Showroom circa 1948

The Future of Work: Post-Pandemic Readiness

With a footprint 40% smaller than its previous space, the new Perkins&Will D.C. studio spans 14,300 rentable square feet on the second floor of a former U.S. Secret Service garage and one-time luxury car showroom dating back to the 1930s. The building has been fully repositioned into a rare loft office space with 13-foot-high exposed ceilings, warehouse-style windows, a 4,700-square-foot penthouse office space, rooftop terrace, and conference lounge space.

“During the pandemic, when businesses were asking, ‘do we really need an office?’, our answer was a resounding yes. The office is alive and well and catering to heightened creativity, healthful collaboration, and a new level of sustainable design,” said Ken Wilson, Perkins&Will Principal and Interior Design Director, who led the studio design. “We now enjoy an intellectual showroom where colleagues can develop and demonstrate their best ideas, and then invite clients in to experience the process.”

A prominent living wall greets visitors as they step off the elevators.
All materials were reviewed against the Perkins&Will Precautionary List and the Living Building Challenge Red List to eliminate exposure to harmful substances.
Glass partitions were used at the conference room to maintain visible site lines between the Café and Lounge and work space.

Sustainable Principles in Action

Sustainability strategies included the rigorous vetting of all materials and furnishings as free (free of harmful chemicals as established by the Living Building Challenge). Priority was given to manufacturers with take back programs to promote a circular economy. To reduce the embodied carbon impact, the project also features salvaged millwork and reused furniture.

The office was designed to achieve what is believed to be a regional first—certifications from all four of the major environmental and wellbeing rating systems: LEED, WELL Building Standard, Fitwel, and the Living Building Challenge. The new office design also meets the AIA’s 2030 Challenge for energy and water reduction.

Health and Wellness

An indoor air quality located at the office entry displays air quality metrics that are enhanced by a living wall, MERV 13 filters, and a UV-C filtration system. Biophilic elements, such as live plants, are located throughout the office with nature soundscapes in a designated quiet room provided for restoration. Touch-free interventions include plumbing fixtures, equipment in the Café and Wellness Room, and automatic door operators at restroom doors.

 

 

The workspace design focuses on occupant health, with active workstations, access to daylight and exterior views, and a thermal gradient across the open workstations of +/- 3 degrees.

Productivity and Creativity

Designing an environment that encourages and optimizes collaboration while providing for flexibility drove the design strategy. A free-address seating system organizes the space, from heads down focus to open team collaboration. A three-degree temperature gradient across the open office space allows staff to select a workspace that supports their personal thermal comfort, while activity is promoted through sit-stand desks.

The office also provides a gathering space for the community and an educational tool where the most innovative approaches to health, wellness, and sustainability can be tested and observed.

“Our new D.C. studio demonstrates the newest thinking and best practice for office design today and in the future. The design is well suited for this unique moment in time.”

– Chris Morrison, Managing Director