George Washington University Science and Engineering Hall
Diverse planting, custom furniture and robust materials stitch this contemporary building into its historic campus context.
Occupying an entire city block at the heart of George Washington University’s (GW) Foggy Bottom Campus in Washington, D.C., the design of the Science and Engineering Hall (SEH) improves pedestrian circulation and enhances the quadrangle aesthetics while encouraging the study and practice of sustainability principles. Responding to highly urbanized conditions, OCULUS designed a dynamic planting palette that benefits from captured stormwater and creates a buffer from the surrounding streets.
Embracing the new 750,000-square-foot SEH and three historic buildings, lush street plantings comprise a diverse and layered blend of grasses and sedges, perennials, and shrubs shaded by canopy trees. Custom timber benches in select areas complement the standard benches found elsewhere in the block while stone pavers at entrances contrast with concrete and brick sidewalks.
A bosque of crape myrtles shade a pocket park, which is located between a rejuvenated historic brick gateway and a new wood fence that screens a service area.
A courtyard at the west entrance of the SEH provides the setting for a memorial to civil rights activist John A. Wilson, sheltered by a grove of river birch.
The project achieved LEED Gold environmental certification.