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November 30, 2022

Low-carbon renovation of Hines' Norton Building headquarters is complete

Photos by Benjamin Benschneider. Adam Hunter/LMN Architects [enlarge]
Salvaged materials take center stage at the new office, such as wood offcuts that have been used to create an eye-catching feature wall.

Hines and project architect LMN are celebrating the successful renovation of the real estate investment and management company's new Seattle headquarters on level eight of the historic Norton Building at 801 Second Ave.. Hines purchased the landmarked property, which first opened in 1959, last fall and swiftly engaged LMN, which has offices inside the building, to design the renovations.

Design work began in late 2021. Construction started and was completed in 2022. Sellen is the general contractor. Hines' new 7,120-square-foot headquarters consists of 11 private offices, 12 open office desks, a workroom, focus rooms, a small and large conference room, and a kitchenette.

In a press release, LMN said the project sets a new precedent in low carbon design in the United States and that the renovation has achieved a 65% carbon reduction through careful carbon counting and innovative reuse of building materials. The architect explained that its design was driven by the goal of eliminating embodied carbon impact without relying on carbon offsets. This was achieved with the adoption of circular design principles aimed at minimizing waste and the associated wasted carbon.

Existing carpet tiles inspired the color palette for the renovation.

The team found and repurposed materials throughout that would have otherwise ended up in landfill. Repurposed materials have been used to create unique elements such as a feature wall in the reception area that is composed entirely of wood offcuts, and a glazed entry constructed of glass salvaged onsite. The conference room's custom tabletop is made with salvaged wood from a fallen tree in the Madrona neighborhood. Still functional materials, such as existing carpet tiles, were preserved to avoid demolition and landfilling. Where possible, existing partitions were also kept and integrated into the overall space planning after alignment exercises with the client's programmatic needs. Insulation from partitions that were demolished was given to aid local rebuilding efforts for the homes of recent flood victims in Washington.

LMN said that designing to retain, reuse, and source salvaged materials has resulted in a measured 65% embodied carbon reduction compared to a typical remodel that begins with an empty shell and that if the same design did not consider salvage and reuse, and solely relied on specifying low-carbon options, it would only result in a 22% reduction.

Additional design goals were to create a refined, elegant and “international-inspired” office space. The retained carpet tiles provided the inspiration for the renovation's color palette which is composed of neutral colors with accents of shades of blue and Hines' iconic brand red, which is expressed at key moments throughout the space through regionally sourced light fixtures.

The project team also included Hermanson Company LLP, MEP Engineer; Titan Electric with LMN Architects, lighting design; Porter, furniture selection; Formology Architectural Products, material vendor and Custom Interiors, casework.

Hines and LMN are planning further renovations at the Norton Building. In October, LMN filed plans to renovate the building's common areas that include the lobby, renovations for the entry courtyard and wraparound terraces — which overlook First Avenue and Columbia Street — plus the creation of a new conference center and new bike storage. That project is still awaiting its construction permit and a general contractor is not yet indicated.

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