February 2, 2021
Interdisciplinary design firm Weber Thompson has announced the opening of its new headquarters at Watershed, a deeply sustainable commercial building located in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.
“Designing and moving to Watershed was the natural next step in the evolution of Weber Thompson and our dedication to sustainable design,” states Managing Partner and Watershed Principal In Charge, Kristen Scott. “After twelve years at The Terry Thomas, we wanted our new home to again push the envelope in high-performance design and demonstrate to our clients what is possible.”
Watershed was designed to meet Seattle’s Living Building Pilot Program which includes meeting petal certification from the Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge for three (3) petals. This rigorous pilot program has strict guidelines about materials, water and energy usage, and provided a framework for nearly every decision made for the project from the core and shell building design to the design decisions in all initial tenant improvements. Weber Thompson is also pursuing FitWel certification specifically for their tenant improvement.
The Weber Thompson office is located on the second floor of Watershed and overlooks the cascading bioswale that runs adjacent to the building. This bioswale was designed by Weber Thompson’s Landscape Design Studio and cleans diverted runoff from the Aurora Bridge.
This connection with the outdoors and the surrounding neighborhood was a theme the designers heard when they gathered input from the firm while exploring the initial design of the new office. Through a series of internal charrettes, the design team heard from fellow staff that they wanted access to daylight, spaces to foster opportunities for connection, areas for hands-on projects, and a showcase for WT’s design aesthetic.
“This is one of those rare opportunities to be our own best client. We implemented our collaborative design approach internally, and it yielded great results,” states Scott.
The result is an elegant space that celebrates natural materials and supports collaboration at all scales. It is anchored by a central circulation spine that maximizes meeting and break out spaces. The lobby, just off the elevator core, features a blackened steel portal which leads to the conference rooms and intimate focus rooms that allow people to work without distraction. The open office space encourages knowledge sharing, teamwork and collaboration while giving everyone access to natural daylight and views of the surrounding neighborhood and Lake Union.
Many reclaimed materials, all from Weber Thompson’s Terry Thomas office, are found throughout the space. Salvaged items include perforated plywood ceiling panels, ceiling fans, and a blacked steel panel in the lobby entry. A beloved element, a 14-foot-tall section of flooring featuring the patina of years serving as Pearl Jam’s practice studio, was reassembled, encased in a steel frame and carefully secured to the second-floor entrance off Troll Avenue.
The materials that were procured for the space are locally-sourced, Red List-compliant and have an ILFI Declare Label listing product components. These measures, along with operable windows and state-of-the-art mechanical ventilation, make the building’s indoor air quality exceptionally healthy.
The general contractor for Weber Thompson’s office space, Schuchart, was instrumental in helping meet the LBC criteria set forth for the project. Watershed, which was built by Turner Construction, features castellated steel beams, fully vetted red-list free materials inside and out, educational signage, environmental art, and a bicycle locker room for 100 bikes, plus showers. The building boasts a 25% reduction in energy use over a code baseline building. The building’s energy usage data will be tracked and displayed in real time on a dashboard in the lobby; Weber Thompson’s usage data will be displayed on a separate dashboard in their second-floor lobby.
About Weber Thompson
Seattle-based Weber Thompson is a full service, West coast design firm specializing in architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and community/urban design. This award-winning company has a staff of 70 design and construction professionals. At the end of 2020, the firm opened its new office in Watershed, in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. Since 1988, Weber Thompson has developed a diverse practice with projects that include high-rises, high-density urban infill, residential, commercial office, hospitality, and affordable housing projects. Weber Thompson seeks effective results through a thoughtful and collaborative design process. For more information go to www.weberthompson.com or contact Weber Thompson at (206) 344-5700 or email@example.com.
Watershed is a high-performance office building that helps Seattle move toward a fossil-free future. It is pursuing the Seattle’s Living Building Pilot Program (LBPP). The project has an emphasis on rainwater: It collects and reuses over 200,000 gallons of water on site annually, and diverts and cleans over 300,000 gallons of runoff before entering Lake Union through green stormwater infrastructure on site. Watershed is a partnership between CoU, LLC and Spear Street Capital. Weber Thompson provided architecture and landscape architecture services. JLL handled all office leasing. 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.
About The Terry Thomas
Weber Thompson designed The Terry Thomas building. When it was completed in 2008, The Terry Thomas gained national attention for its innovative design and holistic approach to sustainability. The building was Seattle’s first commercial office building structure developed in decades without central air conditioning, and it consumes 56% less energy than a typical Class A office building. The firm received a national AIA Committee on the Environment award for the building in 2009, a coveted honor bestowed on only the most innovative projects across the country.
About the International Living Future Institute (ILFI)
The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) is a hub for visionary programs. ILFI offers global strategies for lasting sustainability, partnering with local communities to create grounded and relevant solutions, including green building and infrastructure solutions on scales ranging from single room renovations to neighborhoods or whole cities. ILFI administers the Living Building Challenge, the environment’s most rigorous and ambitious performance standard, as well as the Living Product Challenge and Living Community Challenge. Learn more at www.living-future.org.
About the Living Building Challenge (LBC)
The Living Building Challenge is the world’s most rigorous proven performance standard for buildings. Living buildings are regenerative and connect occupants to light, air, food, nature and community. They are self-sufficient and remain within the resource limits of their site. They create a positive impact on the human and natural systems that interact with them. Learn more at www.living-future.org/lbc/.
About the Living Building Pilot Program (LBPP)
The City of Seattle LBPP encourages buildings to meet the Living Building Challenge, and provides height and land use departure incentives. Projects are eligible if they meet Living Building Challenge full certification, or achieve Petal Recognition, including: Achieve at least three of the seven petals (place, water, energy, health, materials, equity, and beauty), including at least one of the following petals: energy, water, or materials; Reduce total energy usage by 25 percent compared to the Seattle Energy Code; Reduce total building water usage by 75 percent compared to baselines estimated by Seattle Public Utilities; Capture and use at least 50 percent of stormwater on site. Learn more at https://www.seattle.gov/sdci/permits/green-building/living-building-and-2030-challenge-pilots.
Schuchart is a full-service general contractor serving commercial clients in the Puget Sound area. Schuchart takes a stewardship approach to all its projects, owning both the processes and the outcomes to ensure client satisfaction every step of the way. Schuchart has been building, growing and investing in the Greater Seattle Area for 32 years, touching thousands of projects. Schuchart’s people bring a wealth of experience, inventiveness, and enthusiasm to every project, creating a legacy of trust and client satisfaction that the company is committed to building upon every day. For more information, visit www.schuchart.com.