| 20 : 30 – 02 August, 2018 |
Dubbed as a courtyard-focused office complex – The Washington Fruit & Produce Co. Headquarters designed by Graham Baba Architects is a retreat located close to Naches river in Yakima.
Inspired by an aging barn along the Naches road, lead Architect Brett Baba’s design and concept seeks to capture the essence of a utilitarian agricultural aesthetic. Concrete site walls and earthen berms form the perimeter of the 16,500-square-foot headquarters is nestled among its landscape. A limited material palette, natural finishes, glass structure with scissored wooden columns represent the headquarters. Exposed truss girders and glulam columns support the massive entrance glass structure and interior spaces.
Natural finishes of the wall blend with background hills
From the Architects –
Surrounded by the world’s most high-tech fruit packing warehouses, the 16,500-square-foot Washington Fruit & Produce Co. headquarters is conceived as an oasis amidst a sea of concrete and low-lying brush landscape. Tucked behind landforms and site walls, this courtyard-focused office complex provides a refuge from noise and activity of industrial processing yards nearby.
Taking its design cue from an aging barn that the client had identified as a favorite, the concept seeks to capture essence of a utilitarian agricultural aesthetic. A simple exposed structure that employs a limited material palette, natural patina, the design merges rural vernacular with an equally spare contemporary aesthetic.
Low lying landscape
The L-shaped building is nested into the landscape through use of board-formed concrete site walls and earthen berms that wrap the perimeter to form a central, landscaped courtyard. Soil excavated for foundation work was repurposed for the perimeter berms, eliminating the need to remove it or add more.
Renovated barn area
Courtyard and glazed structure –
A notch through the berm provides access from the parking area to the formal courtyard and building entrance. Crossing the courtyard via a boardwalk, the visitor is embraced by a fully glazed facade, punctuated by a series of wood columns that march across the building in regular intervals. The boardwalk aligns with an off-set building entry, which is formed as a wood-wrapped passageway inserted into the glazed facade.
Glazed entrance structure facing the landscape
The building recalls its agricultural roots by pulling the 18-foot-tall scissored glulam structural columns to the outside, revealing the physics of its construction and enabling the 175-foot-long interior volume to be column free. Topped with 68-foot-long exposed truss girders, the interior reaches 20-feet at its peak.
Earth berms around the structure
The repetitive nature of the structure ensured easy fabrication and assembly, saving costs and resources. The north-facing courtyard facade is glazed along its length, visually extending the interior space into the courtyard. Interior light is balanced via a long clerestory dormer on the south, while the extensive use of large, south-facing overhangs and high-efficiency glazing limits summer heat gain. Reclaimed barn wood siding and a weathering steel roof round out the exterior materials.
Reclaimed wood used in construction
Interior spaces –
Spartan, daylight-filled interiors are complemented by a warm, simple palette of natural materials. Private offices line the south wall, while conference spaces and back-of-house functions are set in wood-clad boxes. Interior furnishings terminate well below the ceiling.
Day-light filled interior spaces
The open feeling of the structure is reinforced by keeping furnishings low and allowing them to float within the space. Lighting consists of custom-designed uplights, which keep the ceiling plane tidy. A raised flooring system further ensures that the clean aesthetic is preserved and free of cabling. The deep agricultural roots of both the company and location underlie the simple design concept and attention to detail throughout the project.
Column free office space
Office and miscellaneous spaces –
The sales office is located in the short arm of the L to isolate noise and enhance privacy. Adjacent to the sales office is a separately-enclosed structure featuring a 30-foot-long table where farmers with whom the company works gather for communal meals.
Exposed truss girders
Wooden arcade connects main building to lunch room
Evening view of the lunch room
The exposed structural system connecting the lunch room to the main building creates a small, partially covered courtyard, nodding to a remnant of an aging barn. Views throughout the thirty-acre complex are controlled, whether to the courtyard, the distant hills, or to the shallow private office views created between the building and the berms. Everything is curated to create a peaceful environment in which to work.
Walkways connect the main building with surrounding spaces
Scissored wooden columns
Wooden arcade creates interaction space outside lunch room
Landscape design around the complex
“The overall headquarter complex is “about focusing the views and creating a great workplace for the people there”.
Overall view of the natural landscape merging with the office complex
Project Name – Washington Fruit & Produce Co. Headquarters
Architect Firm – Graham Baba Architects | www.grahambabaarchitects.com
Lead Architect – Brett Baba (Design Principal), Hill Pierce (Project Architect), Jenn LaFreniere (Project Manager)
Design team – Graham Baba Architects (architecture and interior design)
Interior design – Interior Motiv
Project location – Yakima, Washington, United States of America
AIA Institute Honor Award for Architecture
The Plan Award – Office & Business
International Design Award – New Commercial Building
Wood Design & Building Honor Award
WoodWorks Wood Design Award – Low Rise Commercial
German Design Award – Excellent Communications Design Architecture
2017 – Gray Award for Commercial Architecture
Photography Credits – © Kevin Scott
Project Consultants –
Landscape architect – The Berger Partnership
Structural engineering – MA Wright, LLC
Lighting design – Brian Hood Lighting
Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing, Fire protection – ARUP
Contractor – Artisan Construction
Structurally Insulated Panel roof – Premier SIPS
Glulam – Selkirk Timberwrights
Glazing – Pacific Window Systems
Custom furniture fabrication & white oak paneling – Stusser Woodworks
Interior custom woodworking – Millwork Preservation