Gates Foundation Project Wins State Engineering Award, Moves to National Competition

The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Washington awarded GeoEngineers and our project partner KPFF Consulting Engineers the 2014 Special Projects Gold Award for our work on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters. The project features 12 acres of inspiring architecture and landscaping that revitalized an underused site in the heart of downtown Seattle. With the ACEC Washington Gold Award, the entry will now go on to compete for top honors among some of the biggest and highest-profile engineering projects in the country at ACEC’s national awards in Washington, D.C., later this year.

GeoEngineers and KPFF’s work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation extended over eight years, beginning with campus site selection and continuing through permitting, structural and civil engineering, environmental design and remediation, geotechnical design and construction observation. Redeveloping the site 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

The foundation’s project manager reflected, “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.”

Accepting the award on behalf of the entire project team at the awards ceremony were Principal Geologist Dave Cook, LG, CPG and Senior Geotechnical Engineer Lindsay Flangas, PE.

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