U.S. Census Bureau Headquarters

U.S. Census Bureau Headquarters
U.S. Census Bureau Headquarters
U.S. Census

Designed to accommodate a workforce that temporarily expands each census year, this award-winning and highly sustainable suburban campus delivers a pleasant, amenity-filled workplace for federal workers.

Project Facts
  • Status Construction Complete
  • Completion Year 2007
  • Design Finish Year 2003
  • Size Site Area: 30 acres Building Height: 128 feet Number of Stories: 8 Building Gross Area: 1,508,013
  • Awards
    2012, Award for Excellence in Architecture, AIA – Washington DC Chapter 2005, Design Award: Project, AIA – New York City Chapter 2005, Gold Metal: Buildings over 10,000 Square Feet, Miami Architectural Bienal 2007, Interior Architecture of Interest to the Public Realm, AIA – New York City Chapter 2007, Smart Environments Award, International Interior Design Association / Metropolis 2007, Sustainability/Workplace Environment Citation, U.S. General Services Administration 2002, Design Award: On the Boards Citation, U.S. General Services Administration 2007, Good Design is Good Business: Award of Excellence, Architectural Record/Business Week 2007, Design Award: Architecture, AIA – New York City Chapter 2007, Design Award: Interiors, Citation for Design, AIA – New York State 2007, Design Award: Institutional, Award of Excellence, AIA – New York State 2008, Shortlisted, LEAF Awards 2009, Green Good Design Award, Chicago Athenaeum 2007, Honor Award, AIA – Maryland Chapter
  • Sustainability Certifications LEED BD+C NC (New Construction) Gold, BD+C, Gold
  • Collaborators
    Rja Group Walter P. Moore Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design, Inc. Domingo Gonzalez Design Edaw Dewar Partnership Polysonics, Inc. Sako & Associates Inc. (Sako) Wiles Mensch Corporation Ght Ltd. Gorove/Slade Associates Greenhorne & O'Mara Hinman Consulting Engineers Carl Walker, Inc. Shen Milsom & Wilke LLC - Chicago Metropolitan Architects And Planners Hks, P.C. A Morton Thomas And Associates Avila Government Services Enclos Curtainwall Design Consulting Project Management Services Inc. Hopkins Foodservice Specialists, Inc Skanska
Project Facts
  • Status Construction Complete
  • Completion Year 2007
  • Design Finish Year 2003
  • Size Site Area: 30 acres Building Height: 128 feet Number of Stories: 8 Building Gross Area: 1,508,013
  • Awards
    2012, Award for Excellence in Architecture, AIA – Washington DC Chapter 2005, Design Award: Project, AIA – New York City Chapter 2005, Gold Metal: Buildings over 10,000 Square Feet, Miami Architectural Bienal 2007, Interior Architecture of Interest to the Public Realm, AIA – New York City Chapter 2007, Smart Environments Award, International Interior Design Association / Metropolis 2007, Sustainability/Workplace Environment Citation, U.S. General Services Administration 2002, Design Award: On the Boards Citation, U.S. General Services Administration 2007, Good Design is Good Business: Award of Excellence, Architectural Record/Business Week 2007, Design Award: Architecture, AIA – New York City Chapter 2007, Design Award: Interiors, Citation for Design, AIA – New York State 2007, Design Award: Institutional, Award of Excellence, AIA – New York State 2008, Shortlisted, LEAF Awards 2009, Green Good Design Award, Chicago Athenaeum 2007, Honor Award, AIA – Maryland Chapter
  • Sustainability Certifications LEED BD+C NC (New Construction) Gold, BD+C, Gold
  • Collaborators
    Rja Group Walter P. Moore Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design, Inc. Domingo Gonzalez Design Edaw Dewar Partnership Polysonics, Inc. Sako & Associates Inc. (Sako) Wiles Mensch Corporation Ght Ltd. Gorove/Slade Associates Greenhorne & O'Mara Hinman Consulting Engineers Carl Walker, Inc. Shen Milsom & Wilke LLC - Chicago Metropolitan Architects And Planners Hks, P.C. A Morton Thomas And Associates Avila Government Services Enclos Curtainwall Design Consulting Project Management Services Inc. Hopkins Foodservice Specialists, Inc Skanska

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.

U.S. Census
© Floto + Warner
U.S. Census
© Floto + Warner

“Neighborhoods” and their amenities

In response to the cyclical nature of the U.S. Census Bureau’s work, SOM conceived an open plan with flexible “neighborhoods” of employees, stacked vertically and connected by stairs and two-story common areas containing pantries and meeting areas. Amenities such as a library, gymnasium, credit union, and medical facilities are clustered around an underground street that ties the complex together. The interior core is marked with a bright color spectrum to enliven the space and help with wayfinding. Individual workspaces are natural-hued and daylit and feature personal climate controls.

U.S. Census
© Eduard Hueber | Arch Photo Inc.

Meeting and exceeding sustainability goals

Designed to meet LEED Silver standards, the U.S. Census Bureau Headquarters was ultimately awarded LEED Gold. The building’s many green design features include a brise-soleil made of sustainable wood, a narrow floor plate that maximizes daylight and views, energy-efficient building systems, green roofs with walking paths, a sustainable landscape plan, and excellent access to public transit. Two large water retention ponds, one of which doubles as a reflecting pool, collect stormwater runoff and recycle it for landscape irrigation. Waterless urinals and low-flow faucets reduce water use by more than 36 percent. Moreover, construction crews worked around two fully occupied buildings, avoiding the need to temporarily relocate thousands of employees.
The typical office floors are served by a low-pressure under-floor air distribution system. Interior zones are provided with adjustable swirl diffusers for thermal comfort control. The raised floor plenums contain telephone, data, and power distribution systems and can easily accommodate layout changes.

More Projects

01/