GSA Office Building Receives Wood Design Award

The use of western red cedar on the GSA Office Building in Albuquerque was instrumental in the project being recognized by WoodWorks with one of 13 National Wood Design Awards which honor innovative use of wood in design and engineering. Selected from 140 submissions, the GSA office building received the Regional Excellence Wood Design Award for the South Central region.

The building is situated on a broad mesa in the arid desert of New Mexico and is constructed of heavy, durable masonry to take advantage of the high diurnal temperature swings of the desert. The use of such a visually heavy enclosure system necessitated the introduction of a lighter material to both shade the windows from the desert sun as well as provide visual interest across the long building facades. Cedar provides a great deal of warmth to the building, while also being FSC certified and relatively lightweight.

The sustainable aspect of the wood helped the project achieve a LEED Silver rating. Additionally, there is a strong building tradition in the Albuquerque region of combining heavy masonry walls with prominent wood accents. In designing a modern office building in the desert, the designers sought to re-interpret this regional building technique in a way that provided shade, visual interest and sustainability.

The shading system of wood shields the glass from glare and provides visual interest, and the wood trellis frames the mountain vistas as it provides shade to visitors. The courtyard located in the center of the building offers a shaded, protected oasis for visitors and employees in an otherwise harsh climate. It is extensively shaded by a series of cable-supported transverse wood slats that are variably spaced to provide sun-shading only where necessary – along the east, west and north courtyard facades.

Building Design + Construction presents a stunning gallery of the award-winning projects on its website