Bureau of Public Debt

Bureau of Public Debt

Working a Modern Building into a Historic City

It's rare for us to work outside the Washington, DC area, but when asked by a client to handle a project in Parkersburg, WV, we packed our bags and headed west. We immediately fell in love with the architectural charm of the town — its beautiful historic buildings, quaint parks, and original city squares. We were challenged with delivering a modern, GSA-standard government building in the center of a small town founded in 1820. The Bureau of Public Debt is an expanding, dynamic government enterprise. Its new home had to be nestled in the past, but able to accommodate the future. Needless to say, we were more than ready to meet this unique challenge.

  • Project type
  • Architect
    Studios Architecture
  • client
    GSA; Lowe Enterprises

We vetted and prequalified every subcontractor we worked with, and made some really great new relationships through this project.

Greg Ghent, LEED AP® BD+C, Director, DAVIS

Bringing the Home Advantage Wherever We Go

We know how to work in dense urban areas with constrained sites and historic building considerations. Despite being five hours away, Parkersburg was no exception. The best way for us to do this was to relocate our project team to Parkersburg to truly understand the surroundings and work directly with our client and partners. Next, we prequalified local subcontractors. We hold our subcontractors to an extremely high standard and knew it was most cost-effective to source locally. With the team together, we began work on this build-to-suit headquarters. 

Building with Vitality and Expansion in Mind

The project team was focused on achieving LEED®-certification, and with the green roof blanketing over 75 percent of the covered area, high ceilings on the interior to maximize access to natural light, and our waste management and sustainable material expertise — we knew this was an achievable goal. At project completion we had utilized over 40 percent of materials which were manufactured and/or locally harvested.

Not only did we create a modern, GSA-standard, LEED Certified® building; the design also provided for important future expansion. At that time, the Bureau of Public Debt had nearly doubled in size. Projections showed it would happen again. The inevitability of expansion required a floor plan that was flexible. We fabricated and installed movable partitions and in-floor ducts for running electrical lines for future workers. We also created an energy-efficient HVAC system, filtered water system, green roof, and wrapped a majority of the perimeter in glass — making sure additional expansion didn’t mean losing high-efficiency standards.

The design and construction successfully integrated the building into the Parkersburg cityscape by creating a plaza with brick-cladded façades that matched the existing historic, brick buildings — while meeting the extremely high GSA national security standards.

Photos by Boris Feldblyum