WM Headquarters

Houston, Texas
Setting a New Standard

WM, the largest provider of environmental services in North America, partnered with us to create a new Houston headquarters that paves the way for a more sustainable future. A passionate commitment to sustainability is integral to WM’s ethos. In concepting a lively new space with our design team, this was the side of the brand most deserving of celebration. 

The new light-filled headquarters, found on nine stories of Houston’s Bank of America tower, reduces the number of private offices in favor of an open floor plan where the majority of employees can look out to views of the city. Amenity spaces include wellness rooms and those designated for nursing mothers on each floor, spaces for private reflection, game areas, and a café. The central beacon unifying the offices, however, is the nine-story, self-irrigated living wall that flanks the staircase, bringing biophilia and its proven health benefits to every level of the office. 

“WM’s relocation into our new headquarters is central to our purpose—always working for a sustainable tomorrow.”

Jim Fish, President and Chief Executive Officer

Placemaking that Celebrates an Iconic Brand

WM being a leader in sustainability, our design team needed to weave the company’s mission into every solution. The dramatic living wall consists entirely of green and yellow flora, referencing WM’s brand colors, and a diagonal fretwork of metal and acrylic panels that recall the company’s logo. On the building’s 30th floor, an 8,000-square-foot gallery leads visitors through a showcase framed by sustainably harvested wood echoing WM’s logo. Inside, a full-size WM truck cab invites employees and guests to drive through a virtual simulation of multiple garbage truck routes, complete with actual controls and effects. High scores are displayed on a leaderboard behind the vehicle. 

An Exemplar of Sustainability

WM doesn’t just plan to lead the larger waste management industry in sustainable practices; it also aims to be recognized for its sustainability leadership across all business sectors. With the headquarters’ place in Houston’s Bank of America Tower, the first LEED v4.0 Platinum Core and Shell Certified project in the U.S., our design team paid particular attention to the materials throughout. Building materials were vetted against our Precautionary List for chemical hazards. Designers selected low-emitting, locally sourced, third-party certified, and recycled materials to be used throughout the office.  For example, the decorative glass wall tile is made entirely of post-consumer car windshields.  

“Our new space is intentionally designed to be flexible to the current and future needs of our WM family."

Jim Fish, President and Chief Executive Officer

A Sense of Inclusion and Belonging

Inclusivity is paramount to the modern workplace, and for WM, that means ensuring employees feel welcome and open to collaboration in their new environment. Our team created a guidebook to help inform WM on inclusive design solutions, such as standardizing workstations and private offices, helping to ease the implied hierarchy of traditional office culture. The open floor plan also affords employees flexibility in where they work, with a choice of collaborative or individual spaces and over 90% of the latter featuring views of the surrounding city.

Post-Pandemic Workplace Readiness

As COVID-19 remains a necessary workplace consideration, WM’s new headquarters feature branded digital kiosks on every floor that display the office layout, assigned seating arrangements, and meeting room bookings. Temporary capacity limits ensure workers can safely distance even while collaborating or eating in the communal café. We also helped WM develop its return-to-office strategy for 50 of the company’s largest offices, evaluating each seat, creating health and safety protocols, and designing signage.

Project Team

Gina Berndt
Eileen Jones
Jennifer Carzoli
Joseph T. Connell
Michelle Osburn
Lara Leskaj