The American Geophysical Union building in Dupont Circle is the first-ever net-zero energy renovation project. When faced with the need to

renovate the building, AGU wanted the building be a living representation of AGU’s mission, science, and purpose. In addition, they wanted to develop a 21st-century workspace that utilizes technologies and flexible design to foster a healthy and collaborative work environment with an emphasis on well-being for staff and building tenants.

Nature Sacred began our involvement with this project in 2017, working with The Nature Conservancy to help AGU turn the building’s outdoor plaza space into a Sacred Place. It incorporates strategies to retain stormwater and reduce the urban heat island effect, while simultaneously creating an inviting space for people to reflect with nature. AGU’s mission is highly aligned with that of Nature Sacred and TNC.

AGU had already completed several stakeholder engagement and charrette meetings for their site, allowing us to build upon what had already been done to incorporate a design that includes nature-based solutions and human interaction. One crucial element discovered in the charrettes was that the solar system diagram inlaid into the walkway outside the building, right at the Sacred Place, was a highlight for neighbors and needed to be retained.