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June 4, 2014

Gates headquarters wins top ACEC award for engineering achievement

Image courtesy of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation/Timothy Hursley [enlarge]

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle won a Grand Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies.

Eight grand awards were given to projects across the country. The contest received 143 entries.

GeoEngineers did environmental and geotechnical engineering for the complex and KPFF Consulting Engineers provided civil and site structural engineering.

The team also included NBBJ, architect; Sellen Construction, contractor; Seneca Group, development manager; Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, landscape architect; K&L Gates, environmental law; and Arup, consulting for structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, audio visual and information technology.

The campus was completed in 2012 after more than four years of construction.

It has a 1,050-car underground garage, 525,000 square feet of office space in two buildings and an outdoor plaza.

GeoEngineers said it was challenging to redevelop the large and underused site for a number of reasons.

The project involved some of the most complex site-selection, right-of-way and land-use negotiations in the city's history. The land was one of the largest single parcels ever developed in Seattle, and required a massive temporary shoring system that extended as much as 50 feet below-grade. The property also had environmental issues following more than 100 years of industrial use.

Century-old infrastructure had to be rebuilt or rerouted, including sewer systems and lines for electrical transmission and distribution.

The Gates' foundation had ambitious sustainability goals for the building, which became the world's largest nonprofit LEED NC platinum building.

Green elements include thermal energy storage, a 750,000-gallon tank that optimizes the campus cooling system, a million-gallon storage tank that collects rainwater for irrigation and reuse of non-potable water.

There's also a 560,000-square-foot gasoline vapor barrier. To create it, a membrane was sprayed on all walls and beneath the entire structure to prevent intrusion of vapors from contaminated soil into the garage and buildings.

For the other winners, go to http://tiny.cc/sbg8fx/.

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