Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Project Wins National Engineering Excellence Award

The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) awarded GeoEngineers and our project partner, KPFF Consulting Engineers, a national Grand Award for engineering excellence for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters project in Seattle, WA. The project received one of just eight grand awards out of 143 entries representing some of the largest and most complex engineering projects in the country. GeoEngineers representatives were on hand to accept the award April 29 at ACEC’s 2014 Engineering Excellence Awards Gala in Washington, D.C.—the “Academy Awards” of the engineering industry.

GeoEngineers and KPFF’s eight-year relationship with the foundation began with campus site selection and continued through permitting, structural and civil engineering, environmental design and remediation, geotechnical design and construction observation. The team’s work began well before the initial phase of the campus broke ground in 2006, and continued through two construction phases.

Redeveloping this large and underutilized site in the heart of downtown Seattle was challenging for a number of reasons, including:

  • Some of the most complex site-selection, right-of-way and land-use negotiations in Seattle’s history had to occur before the project could even break ground
  • More than 100 years of industrial use had left a legacy of environmental damage so severe that many doubted the sprawling site would ever be redeveloped
  • Designers had to plan for, rebuild and reroute highly sensitive below- and above-grade infrastructure, including extensive century-old sewer systems and underground and overhead electrical transmission and distribution lines
  • The site was one of the largest single parcels ever developed in the city and required a massive temporary shoring system extending to depths of 50 feet below grade.
  • The foundation’s ambitious sustainability goals called for new age thermal energy storage and unique stormwater-management methods that needed to be engineered into what became the world’s largest nonprofit LEED© Platinum – NC building in the world

“After eight years and multiple project phases, we achieved our goal of creating a world-class facility and did so on schedule and under budget,” said Lynn Perkins, AIA, the foundation’s project manager. “The level of engagement and the respect GeoEngineers and KPFF gave the project was amazing. It was an inclusive, collaborative, mission-focused team, and there was no question that they gave us the very best of their talents. The whole process was remarkable.”


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