In July 2011, the Army National Guard (ARNG) Readiness Center opened in Arlington Virginia. At eight stories, including three below grade levels, the new joint command center brings a highly innovative approach to the integration of landscape and security design resulting in a seamless mission-oriented environment.
The challenge to the Army National Guard and the AECOM design team was to rethink how facilities support missions and incorporate sustainable concepts for building performance. From the onset, the team recognized the need to design not only for current needs but to anticipate future needs, recognizing that change in missions is constant.
The readiness center was originally a 193,000-square foot building and parking structure to be built for $68 million. The project scope grew from 900 occupants to 1,200 occupants during AECOM’s initial programming efforts. Additional impacts to the project were discovered during the initial programming phase that included a more thorough examination of site issues, including zoning height restrictions and force protection setback requirements. The scope evolved to a 250,000-square foot building (a five-story tower and three levels below grade) and a separate parking structure for 500 cars.
The project presented the AECOM team with a number of key design challenges and opportunities: accommodating 250,000 square feet of program space on a highly restricted, irregular site while preserving the natural beauty of the existing landscape, meeting highly restrictive force protection setback requirements, and creating anarchitecture worthy of the National Guard mission in the 21st century. The innovative design solution translates these restrictions into opportunities for beauty, sustainability, security and meaning to users and visitors alike, creating a compelling symbol of national resolve in the face of a complex and expanded mission.
A high-performance building at every level, from systems performance to image, the readiness center sets a new standard for originality, innovation and quality of services in the National Capital region.