Core Design Team
Firm: TCF Architecture
The Berger Partnership (Landscape)
Robinson Company (Cost Control)
Adams Consulting (Hardware)
TCF Architecture (Architect)
SSA Acoustics (Acoustics)
Wetherholt & Associates (Envelope)
Pyramid Engineers (Civil)
Parson Brinckerhoff (Equipment Consultant)
Welsh Commissioning Group (Commissioning)
Since the 1980’s expansion of the Chambers Creek Waster Treatment Plant, crews of Pierce County’s Sewer Collections Divsion (SCD) traveled miles from the Chambers Creek canyon to service the region. When more recent discussions of facility expansion began, questions arose as to where best to relocate the SCD in support of their deployment maintaining sewer lines, pump stations, and residential pump systems. Meanwhile, the Traffic Operations Division (TOD) – responsible for maintaining street signage, striping, and traffic signals – was struggling to maintain functionality within their antiquated facilities. Conversations between County leaders led to an “Aha…What if?…” moment, as co-location of these groups was conceptualized as a long term strategy for delivering cost-effective maintenance services.
A vision of a new era based on cooperation and interdivisional synergies for more then 100 staff and crew, energized planning and programming sessions involving both SCD and TOD, along with personnel from the Equipment Services Division (ESD). Through an interdependent program blending their operations, the County and Design Team envisioned a “virtual machine”: a highly efficient facility to promote the fluid flow of daily operations and management of resources, and reduced in building and property maintenance, industrial, yet designed for the people, professional work environments would serve to enhance communication, collaboration and team building.
The result is a $30.5 million collection of six main structures on a site central to County service areas, with the configuration of functions based upon inherent contrasts of the program: clean vs dirty, high vs low, quiet vs noisy, secure vs open, transparent vs opaque, and civic vs industrial. Coupled with the County’s commitment to integrate sustainable strategies, these “pairings” inspired the design response. Transparency, a primary goal of the County, is considered in every building; by seeing into, through, and beyond, pedestrian safety is enhanced. As well, internal glazing produces a sense of openness and awareness amongst departments, while encouraging personnel to see and appreciate the work of their peers.
Site: Gabion walls within the landscaping acknowledge the site’s former era as a gravel mine. Native plantings marry the otherwise industrial facility to its site, buffered by forested edges. Methods of stormwater management include raingardens, pervious concrete, and pond infiltration via detention. A public trail along the western edge of the site connects surrounding neighborhoods.
Buildings: Massing across the facilty responds simply to program operations, including varying clear heights and vehicle access through and within buildings, supporting highly specialized functions. Serving as the front door to the complex and central hub for personnel interaction, the crew and administrative building sets a civic tone. Rising gently to gesture towards the main public road on the east edge of the site, the distinctive roof line is further articulated by the raised clerestory form.
A palette of common materials unites the campus, featuring a mix of gray, silver and white metal cladding, glass, masonry and cedar. Like the white and chrome vehicles representing the organization, the buildings reflect a crisp image of an agency that takes great pride in its operations.