What Ever Happened to the “Original Green Building”?

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

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.”

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.
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.

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.

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
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.

Photo © Ezra Stoller | ESTO

We are a collective of architects, designers, engineers, and planners building a better future. To learn more, visit www.som.com.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store