Fremont’s Watershed received a 2023 Top Ten Award from AIA National’s Committee on the Environment (COTE). This award is presented annually to ten projects that meet high standards of design as well as rigorous criteria for social, economic, and ecological value. The project was developed in a partnership between The HessCallahanGrey Group and Spear Street Capital. Weber Thompson was the architect and landscape architect and houses their headquarters in the building.
This is the second COTE award for this design and development team. In 2009 passively cooled commercial building The Terry Thomas, designed by Weber Thompson and developed by members of Watershed’s development team, also received this honor.
“Watershed represents the next step in our evolving exploration of what sustainable design means,” states Weber Thompson Managing Partner Kristen Scott, the Principal in Charge of Watershed. “Working with such a progressive development team, we started by designing a naturally ventilated building with The Terry Thomas. For Watershed we saw the opportunity to take on a deeper challenge together and crafted a beautiful, sustainable building whose positive impacts effect change within our greater community. The fact that we have been able to house our headquarters in both of these buildings has given us a unique perspective and appreciation of the role that sustainability plays in creating healthy environments.”
A 7-story commercial office building, Watershed is pursuing Living Building Challenge Petal Certification from the International Living Future Institute. It is a participant in Seattle’s Living Building Pilot Program and is Salmon-Safe Certified.
Watershed celebrates a story of community water conservation, reclamation, and treatment through the design of the building and its public outdoor spaces using 88% less water than a typical office building. Its body is a glass cube sitting lightly on a solid base, shifted and recessed, with views oriented towards Lake Union. Enveloped in self-tinting electrochromic glass, it reduces solar heat gain and glare while maintaining daylighting and views while significantly reducing energy usage to a noteworthy 28.2/kbtuh/sf. It is topped by a dramatic cantilevered roof, clad in warm cedar, that provides space for an urban apiary and rainwater collection via a cascading sculptural steel art piece conveying captured rainwater to a 20,000-gallon cistern for use in irrigation and toilet flushing. Adjacent, verdant bioswales and terraces stepping down a hillside offer biophilic connections to visitors and tenants while filtering toxic stormwater runoff from the Aurora Bridge overhead.
AIA COTE has given this award annually for over 25 years. Submissions undergo a comprehensive analysis with the AIA’s Framework for Design Excellence, a ten point structure that scrutinizes a project’s performance. A goal of the award is to recognize performance over intentions; all submittals must provide at least one year of performance data.
Additional team members include General Contractor: Turner Construction; Civil Engineer: KPFF; Structural Engineer: DCI Engineers; M/E/P Engineer: WSP; Building Envelope: Allana Buick & Bers, Inc.; Transportation Engineer: Heffron Transportation; Specifications: Applied Building Information, LLC; Sustainability/LBC Consulting: Skanska.