When the American Society of Hematology (ASH) headquarters was designed by RTKL, they had no idea they ultimately would win the NAIOP MD/DC Award of Excellence in the Best Sustainable Design LEED category once the project was complete.
But marrying flexibility and sustainability to demonstrate a commitment to the changing workplace was a core component of the project.
What made the experience so rewarding for us is that it embodies two driving trends in workplace design today—brand and sustainability. As a LEED-certified workplace, it’s not only a reflection of ASH’s commitment to environmental responsibility but a true expression of their brand as a progressive, innovative organization.
Located in downtown Washington, D.C., the building reflects superior workspace, cost efficiency, and environmental sustainability. It accommodates 40,000 SF of ASH headquarters including a multi-media conference center, fitness facility, and sub-grade garage.
At the beginning of the project, we learned that ASH has more 15,000 members, including doctors, scientists, and other industry professionals. So we wanted the headquarters to reflect a collective connection with the association. This was accomplished through design elements and creating spaces uniquely accessible to visitors engaged in mission-related activities.
And collaboration — a key aspect of many workplaces being designed today — was at the core of the project itself. The award is a result of a truly collaborative effort among each member of a comprehensive project team, including AtSite, Owner’s Representative and continuing Performance Manager; Forrester Construction Company, General Contractor; and RTKL, our global architecture, planning and design firm. In fact, ASH is the first non-profit association in the country to achieve this LEED Platinum certification for new construction of a commercial office building larger than 80,000 square feet, and its headquarters is now one of only seven LEED Platinum commercial office buildings in the District of Columbia.
Flexibility was addressed through clearly defined dedicated spaces such as an outdoor terrace, fitness area and the ASH Club, serving as space for employees and visitors to relax and engage with each other. Filled with diverse lounge seating, easily accessible desks and conference tables, the space promotes a relaxed and multi-purpose atmosphere for work and networking activities.
Team members navigate easily around work stations placed for increased spatial awareness. Movement and flow are integral to the collaborative environment and furniture systems are arranged in a non-linear layout.
With 15,000 ASH members, including scientists and physicians, the design team focused on creating a custom-designed light fixture that visually connects the four floors and provides a tangible expression of the diverse organization. So wherever you are in the space, the light fixture creates a sense of connection.
Some examples of green initiatives that ASH has undertaken include the following:
- More than 70% of the regularly occupied spaces have natural light.
- 90% of the regularly occupied spaces have direct outside views.
- The use of water-efficient shower heads, and lower flow sink fixtures, urinals, flush valves and shower heads yields a 32% water reduction.
- The building has a carbon monoxide and dioxide monitoring system.
- The HVAC system, coupled with lower energy light fixtures, yields a 15% building energy reduction.
- At least 62% of wood products are made of materials certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which encourages environmentally responsible harvested products.
- At least 75% of non-hazardous construction and demolition debris was diverted from landfills and incinerators.
- At least 28% of the materials used for the construction of this building were extracted, harvested, and manufactured within 500 miles of the project site.
- At least 20% of the materials used for the construction of this building were manufactured using recycled materials.
Check out some images of the new ASH headquarters:
The result of ASH’s new office space is a fresh, branded workplace environment that reflects the organization’s innovative culture. The focal point of the design is a prominent light-filled stairwell that houses a custom-designed light sculpture which represents the large number of ASH members and symbolic characteristics of hematology.
A custom light fixture of glass ornaments represent blood platelets and other characteristics of hematology. The light filled stairwell fosters connectivity and allows access to outside views for 90 percent of occupied spaces. The Rondelles/discs in the light sculpture are made of recycled acrylic. The strands of fiber optic lighting scattered between the discs are energy efficient.
The design solution balances the workplace needs of ASH employees and the 15,000 members with an environment that is open, progressive and inviting. Multipurpose spaces like the conference center on the tenth floor are used for member events.