Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Washington, DC

Project Info
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Washington, DC
Completion Date: 2008
Square Footage: 167,000
Virginia Society AIA
Award for Interior Design

IIDA Bronze Award for State/Federal Government and Commercial Projects over 100,000 SF

The mission of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is to eliminate discrimination from the workplace. Fairness, diversity and respect are key principles of the organization's cultural values. For its new offices, the EEOC desired a design that strikes a balance between the serious nature of its mission and the exuberance of its culture. Another significant challenge facing the EEOC is the retention and attraction of employees. To achieve this goal, it is creating a flexible management structure, significantly increasing its technology infrastructure, allowing for alternative work schedules and providing amenities for its staff. Based on the criteria developed at a visioning session, the EEOC and design team envisioned a space of bold statements that communicate the EEOC's goals of encouraging communication, teamwork, collaboration and parity. Another key element of the space involved communicating the past, present and future of the EEOC, which further reinforces critical importance of its mission.

The 50,000 square foot floor plates were a significant obstacle in achieving the goal of a collaborative and light-filled environment. The design team converted this apparent liability into an asset by placing the conference spaces and social functions at the center of the floor plate and infusing those spaces with kinetic forms, glass, light and color. This "social core" was connected to the two building cores by curved, brilliantly illuminated red walls, which serve as a graphic canvas communicating the missions of the various groups within the EEOC as well as creating a strong architectural wayfinding element. The conference and collaboration spaces are visually transparent and graphically interesting, featuring glass walls articulated with graphic elements screened onto the glass. This central social core of spaces is surrounded with "neighborhoods" of work and collaborative team spaces. Colors are primarily neutral, providing a backdrop for graphics and the fresh, airy feeling the EEOC desired.

The 15,000 square foot conference center located on the first floor is used for all public hearings, training and social events. The conference center has significant public use and is perfectly suited for the exhibit of the past, present and future story of the EEOC.