What Ever Happened to the “Original Green Building”?

A suburban office campus from the 1970s reveals the enduring potential of ecological design.

SOM
SOM
Mar 21, 2019 · 8 min read
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The terraced roofs of the former Weyerhaeuser Corporate Headquarters building, the winner of AIA’s 25 Year Award in 2001. Photo © Ezra Stoller | ESTO

“The skyscraper on its side.”

“A natural outgrowth of the earth.”

“Eden meets corporate America.”

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Rendering of Weyerhaeuser Corporate Headquarters, drawn by Carlos Diniz. Courtesy of The Archive of Carlos Diniz / Family of Carlos Diniz. The archive is now hosted at the Art, Design & Architecture Museum of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
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The original site plan for the Weyerhaeuser campus. © SOM

Going beyond an eye-catching form, Bassett’s and Walker’s primary innovation was to interface the headquarters directly with the existing natural ecosystem around it.

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West-facing panoramic view of the former Weyerhaeuser building and campus. Photo by Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 4.0

Embedded into every aspect of the design concept was a desire to elevate the everyday experience of Weyerhaeuser employees.

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Top left and right: SOM and Knoll International’s “open landscape” concept in action. Bottom: A large forest tapestry by artist Helena Hernmarck on display in the building’s top-floor executive level. Photos © Ezra Stoller | ESTO
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View of the entrance courtyard. Photo © Ezra Stoller | ESTO

There is little doubt that the site will continue to serve as an evocative and highly popular backdrop for the occasional vintage car shoot or dog portrait.

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Photo © Ezra Stoller | ESTO

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