Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States
A consistent design for a fluctuating office
Every 10 years for the census taking, the U.S. Census Bureau’s staff headcount expands and then contracts by one third. SOM’s award-winning design for the federal agency’s headquarters accommodates this fluctuation in a large office building that nevertheless maintains an open, elegant feel.
The complex consists of two long, low-slung, curving volumes separated by a courtyard. Their narrow footprints ensure daylight penetrates throughout the interiors. A brise-soleil of wavy, white oak panels reduces solar glare and helps the structure blend into its wooded, 80-acre site in suburban Maryland. The interdisciplinary approach of this project minimized the building’s impact on the natural environment, maximized aesthetics and functionality, and encouraged the highest level of comfort for its occupants.