Case Study

Washington Headquarters Services A Strong and Sustainable Success for the DoD

Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.A.

The Challenge

HKS was awarded the contract for this design-build, mega-project more than a year after all previous Base Realignment and Closure projects, but it shared the same fixed completion date of Sept. 15, 2011. That meant the project team faced the steep challenge of designing, constructing and delivering nearly 2 million square feet of secure office space for Department of Defense agencies within 33 months.

The Design Solution

Located at Mark Center, the Washington Headquarters Services complex is part of a 350-acre mixed-use campus in Alexandria, Virginia, 4 miles from the Pentagon. The project consists of all new, class A construction that allows for spacious nine-foot-four-inch ceilings in an open office environment. The buildings are modern and progressive in character, and a rich architectural precast and glass skin represents strength, stability and progressiveness. The complex is notable for its spectacular views of both Washington, D.C. and its natural campus setting. The building’s technology was futureproofed as much as possible while providing major increases in efficiency. Energy saving features include occupancy sensors, a high-efficiency central chiller plant, demand-controlled ventilation and a dedicated outdoor air system with energy recovery wheels. LED lighting fixtures throughout the facility contribute significantly to a 30 percent reduction in energy consumption. Careful selection of low-flow faucets, shower heads and plumbing fixtures, along with zero-irrigation and drought-tolerant landscaping, reduces potable water usage by 45 percent. The project design also maximizes the use of visible green elements, including green roof designs for the Visitor’s Center and Remote Inspection Facility, a bioswale for filtering stormwater runoff, and an extensive green screen that wraps the façade of one of the parking structures. To reduce transit emissions, the project features its own transportation center and limited on-site parking for about 60 percent of the overall population.

The Design Impact

Washington Headquarters Services is considered a ‘mini-Pentagon,” or annex to the Pentagon. The $953 million Washington Headquarters Services houses more than 6,400 employees from 26 agencies and 170 sub-agencies in a 1.8 million-square-foot (167,225 sm) complex. Using a unique design-build process, the 30-month construction schedule was completed five weeks early and more than $50 million under budget. This is the first U.S. Army Corps project of this size to earn LEED Gold certification. Using modern strategies in environmentally sustainable construction and site development, the project mitigates its overall environmental impact by enabling energy efficiency, water savings, indoor environmental quality and sustainable site design. During construction, waste recycling practices diverted an estimated 6 million pounds of potable construction waste from landfills.

Project Features

  • 350-acre site
  • 1,870,000-square foot (173,728 sm) building complex for 6,409 personnel
  • 1,300,000-square foot (120,773 sm) parking structure
  • 375 preferred-parking spots for carpools and hybrid vehicles.
  • Remote inspection facilities
  • Remote distribution facilities
  • Multimodal transit center
  • Visitor/reception center
  • LEED Gold certification


  • 2011 NAOIP Award of Excellence
  • 2011 Army Corps of Engineers Lean, Clean and Green Award
  • 2011 ENR Southeast Award of Merit
  • 2011 IIDA Mid-Atlantic Chapter Silver Award

We would like to recognize and praise HKS and the entire design-build team for the performance and delivery of this project.

New York District Commander, United States Army Corps of Engineers