Federal Center South Building 1202

The Federal Center South 1202 building is the result of both the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) Design Excellence program which was established to engage the United States’ most innovative architects to design the nation’s federal buildings. With aggressive reuse and energy-performance requirements, the new 1202 building transforms a 4.6 acre brownfield site into a highly flexible and sustainable 209,000 SF regional headquarters for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Northwest District.

Using a Design-Build delivery model required to gat ARRA funds committed as quickly as possible, the Sellen Construction and ZGF Architects LLP team developed an integrated design and construction solution that fuses programmatic, functional and aesthetic objectives with a new standard for high-performance, cost-effective and sustainable workplace environments. The project was planned and designed in under 18 weeks in order to guarantee the performance-based contract that met GSA’s construction budget, energy performance goals and an aggressive design and construction schedule starting with a design competition at the beginning of 2010 and resulting in a completed building before the end of 2012.

The “oxbow” design solution provides and ideal workplace environment for the USACE emblematic of their mission of “Building Strong.” The building’s form –reflecting the natural oxbows past and present in the course of the adjacent Duwamish Waterway– is functional and infinitely flexible to accommodate the USACE’s nearly constantly changing team-based work. The diagrid structure extending around the building meets GSA’s security requirements for progressive collapse, ensuring the building will remain standing should one of the column elements be compromised. The exterior stainless steel shingle cladding emphasizes “Building Strong” and  complements the nearby historic 1930s Albert Kahn-designed 1201 building. The dramatic, daylit wood-clad atrium–the “commons”–features timber reclaimed form the former warehouse that stood on the site and serves as the social heart of the building.


Project Type


Seattle, Washington, United States

Related links


  • ZGF Architects
  • Sellen Construction
  • KPFF Consulting Engineers
  • WSP Flack + Kurtz / University Mechanical
  • Built Ecology
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  • Lane Coburn & Associates, LLC / Sequoyah Electric, LLC
  • SiteWorkshop LLC
  • Studio SC
  • Lerch Bates
  • The Greenbusch Group
  • Rolf Jensen & Associates / Tuazon Engineering
  • Hart Crowser& Associates, Inc.
  • Benjamin Benschneider, Lara Swimmer