Public architecture advances the values and vision of our democracy by serving and inspiring citizens.

Design Diplomacy

US Department of State

US Consulate, Erbil

High-performance design focuses on security and flexibility for the future.

Healthy by Design

Workplace lobby

We're partnering with Fitwel - one of Fast Company's 2017 Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Social Good - to define the new standard for design that promotes good health and good business. As a Fitwel champion, we'll apply their healthy design and operational strategies to our high-performance portfolio of projects. 

Well-Being Workplace Strategy

Protecting People & Property

Security is a critical aspect of design resiliency that takes many forms, depending on building type and location, as well as the nature of various threats and vulnerabilities. Physical security, screening measures, and electronic monitoring help ensure the safety of facilities and their users – tenants and visitors – but government buildings must also fulfill functional and representational goals that require openness and accessibility. Balancing the requirements of people and buildings to create a comfortable and healthy workplace and/or living environment advances agency mission.

Community Impact Resiliency

Modernizing for Mission

Brookhaven National Laboratories has a mission of advancing fundamental research in nuclear and particle physics, energy research, and climate studies. To create the contemporary, flexible, and collaborative environment this requires, we modernized research space in two 1960s buildings on Brookhaven’s campus.

Advancing Mission Modernization

Landmark Workplace

Monumental Stair

General Services Administration

Birch Bayh Federal Building & US Courthouse

The GSA committed not only to preserving Birch Bayh but also to making the historic landmark a highly desirable, healthy and sustainable workplace – safe, comfortable, and secure – that helps Indianapolis retain and attract a quality work force.

Improving the experience of public architecture requires designers to balance the needs of people – owners as well as occupants – and systems. At Birch Bayh, we developed strategies that enhanced security and energy efficiency, as well as program functionality and human well-being.  Two grand staircases channel visitors as well as employees from the public entry of Birch Bayh to the historic courtrooms on the second floor. Working closely with the GSA, we added and enhanced life safety systems while keeping the stairs open for staff and visitors to use, rather than relying on the adjacent elevators.

Improving indoor air quality benefits employees and visitors while saving energy and helping the GSA advance its sustainability goals. Our engineering strategy increased the delivery of outside air to all 22 air handling units. Solutions such as pulling air through the building’s two historic chimneys resulted in enhanced indoor air quality but also provided 100% free cooling, reducing energy use. The vegetative roof, which conserves and manages stormwater, also improved the views from offices.

Integrated design solutions such as these improve the building’s performance and its ability to advance the owner’s mission and goals. Birch Bayh tenants rated their overall satisfaction at 90% in the first year after substantial completion, and 95% the following year.

Workplace Strategy Historic Preservation

Collections Security and Access

We worked closely with NARA, the National Park Service, the Roosevelt Institute, and members of the library staff for nearly a decade. First, we needed to fully understand the building and its past. Our design plan had to resolve the sometimes conflicting demands placed on the structure by the multiple functions it supports and the immense variety of materials and objects it houses. We also evaluated the impact construction would have on the landscape. Since its modernization, there has been a 137% increase in visitorship.

Modernization Historic Preservation

Touchstone of Democracy

NAVFAC Washington

Historic Watch Box

Tangible links with our nation’s past enrich contemporary culture.

Exterior view of US Ambassador's Residence in Prague, Czech Republic

US Department of State

US Ambassador's Residence


Beneath its elaborate Beaux-Arts skin, the Villa Petschek is a highly secure 21st-century residence and workplace.

Exterior view at dusk

National Archives and Records Administration

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum


More secure and accessible collections help advance JFK's legacy to inspire new generations.

Exterior detail shot of Federal Hall and George Washington statue

US National Park Service

Federal Hall National Memorial


Proactive preservation helps ensure the continued stability of this Wall Street icon.

Naval Academy Chapel

US Navy

Brigade of Midshipmen Chapel


The restored facility is the heart of a National Historic Landmark District.

The Challenge of Modernization

by Les Shepherd

University of Houston, Student Center

Gone are the days when new construction was held to a higher standard than renovation. Fully modernized buildings are now expected to rival or surpass new construction in energy performance, functionality, and comfort. Meeting this challenge requires the architect and the entire team to go on a journey of exploration within an existing building. They must be part detective, part historian, part diplomat, soothsayers, and master communicators – all closely collaborating with one another to realize the full potential of the building renovation while fully respecting the spirit and intent of the original designers. A modernization project today challenges not only the architect but the entire design team in a way that no other project does.

It’s critical to design buildings with the flexibility and adaptability to manage change – from evolving program, technology, and organizational goals to the challenges of dwindling resources and climate change.

Karl Stumpf Karl Stumpf, AIA, OAA, LEED AP BD+C Government Sector Leader