By Kristin Bentley

weyerhaeuser3Weyerhaeuser held a public grand opening on Monday for its new headquarters, providing long-awaited tours of the building’s treehouse-like interior. Located at the heart of Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood, developer Urban Visions CEO Greg Smith says the eight floors containing 158,000 square feet of new Class-A office space provide a missing link to the block that surrounds Occidental Park.

Smith continued on to explain that because Occidental Park is at the center of Pioneer Square, and the eastern edge had consisted of a surface parking lot for over forty years, the square never used to work. “From our perspective, the important things were to build a building that would be iconic and a complement to Pioneer Square,” Smith added. “And not just another rust building but something that would stand the test of time, like the Smith Tower.”

As we look to Weyerhaeuser’s future, we’re excited to be part of a city where people want to live and work

Historic buildings are difficult to replicate, says Smith, because they end up looking unauthentic. So Urban Visions decided to design the building with handmade brick laid by a brickmason on the three sides facing the streets, creating a modern expression of history that complemented the neighborhood. The side of the building that faces the park is glazed and reflects back into the park, Smith explained, creating the ambiance of an outdoor room.

Photo Courtesy of Mithūn
Photo Courtesy of Mithūn

Seattle-based Mithūn, the architecture firm on the project, says on its website that the project is a dynamic mix of open workspaces, multi-purpose cafes, and that the rooms are tailored for group activities in order to increase collaboration and integration between departments. Thoughtful attention was given to the workplace experience with the idea to support productivity, inspiration and the recruitment of future talent.

The LEED Platinum building was also designed with one of Weyerhaeuser’s core values in mind, sustainability. According to Smith, most buildings are built from the outside in, however, the new headquarters was built with its people in mind. For instance, the ceilings are high on each floor in order to optimize natural sunlight and all of the windows are fully operable. “It’s all about movement and people’s health, and in the end it far exceeded Weyerhaeuser’s expectations,” Smith said.

When walking by at night, passersby can look into the glass and see the building’s energy lit from within, says Smith. He added that the interior provides the feeling of being inside a treehouse, which gave the developer the opportunity to take advantage of incorporating nostalgic views of the London Planetrees in the park. “Pioneer Square is the birthplace of Seattle, it has soul, character and oozes creative energy,” Smith said.

“We’re excited to be here in Pioneer Square because of this neighborhood’s potential for the future,” said Doyle Simons, the president and CEO of Weyerhaeuser. “The location is a magnet for talented people. As we look to Weyerhaeuser’s future, we’re excited to be part of a city where people want to live and work.”