SEA-MW honored Weidlinger Associates for its structural and protective design of DC’s first new cabinet-level building in 30 years.
WASHINGTON, DC – Weidlinger received a 2008 Excellence in Structural Engineering Merit Award from the Structural Engineers Association of Metropolitan Washington for structural design of the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) Headquarters Building in Washington, DC. The huge structure, which spans two city blocks on an 11-acre site within the developing Southeast Federal Center district, is the first new cabinet-level office building to be constructed in the city in more than three decades. The award (in the >$25 million category) was announced at a gala on Saturday, February 23, 2008, at the Grand Hyatt Washington.
The USDOT Headquarters consists of two buildings, each with a central atrium topped by a steel and glass skylight. The buildings provide office space for 5,500 employees and are connected via two below-grade parking levels for 900 vehicles. Vertical articulation in the form of alternating projected and recessed bays reduces the perceived mass of the 1.9-million-square-foot structure. Weidlinger’s economical structural design supported the open architecture of Michael Graves while conforming to stringent federal security standards for resistance to blast and progressive collapse.
Weidlinger engineers were also required to meet the challenges of a contaminated site with abandoned sub-grade structures. The site was bisected by subway tunnels only 17 feet below the mat foundation and by a large active brick sewer main from 1908, which remained in service and was incorporated into the final design. In addition, an existing “gun barrel shrinkage pit” extended 110 feet below the west building portion of the site. Jerome W. Rasgus, Principal in Charge, led the USDOT structural design team together with Matthew Romano, Associate, who was the Project Structural Engineer; Dr. Robert Smilowitz, Principal, led the blast and progressive collapse protection effort. The project was developed by JBG/SEFC Venture LLC.