Reimagining the architecture of intelligence
If you were asked to imagine the typical government intelligence headquarters, you'd probably think of a gray concrete monolith—something dark and impenetrable like the Pentagon or the J. Edgar Hoover building. While these are distinctive examples of government architecture, our vision for ICC-B plays directly against this type. Inspired by its collaborative mission, ICC-B’s design is closer in character to a university or tech headquarters. It’s a new architecture for a new era of counterterrorism, driven by an institutional need for openness, sharing and collaboration. The design is all about connections—between the new and existing buildings on campus, between buildings and site, and between the campus and its natural and community contexts.
One building was demolished, making way for the new 220,000 square foot Centrum Building. Shaped as a Z, the Centrum snakes through the campus, connecting three existing buildings and a parking garage into a single, continuous, secure environment. The Centrum serves as the central hub of the reinvented campus, providing auditorium space, special event space, reception space, an amenity gallery, executive suites and secure office spaces. To advance security, two of the existing buildings received structural upgrades to meet Anti-Terrorism/ Force Protection (AT/FP) requirements.
Renewing the site’s architectural and natural harmony
One major design goal was to address the community’s unhappiness with the old campus, which had unattractive, bunker-like buildings and a large parking lot along the main street frontage. It was an ominous presence in an otherwise quaint, suburban neighborhood. That sea of surface parking was replaced with a parking structure at the back of the site, almost invisible to the public. This move allowed us to reimagine the landscaping of the site, making room for a lush native landscape, including bio-retention and other storm-water-management improvements. To connect the campus together aesthetically, and to reimagine its architectural relationship to the neighborhood context, all of the existing buildings were given new facades. The design concept is based on the idea of “natural camouflage,” disguising the campus’s intelligence function, and transforming its previous “imposing” design with something that feels nongovernmental. The new cladding is based on a forest metaphor, inspired by an autumn site visit early in the design process. The west side of the site is adjacent to forested National Park Service land. The vertical striping of windows and walls, and the colors and patterns of the walls, derive from the appearance of those trees with their vertical trunks, the bark
COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION & RENOVATION — NOVEMBER : DECEMBER 2018