Weyerhaeuser International Headquarters, 1972
Weyerhaeuser International Headquarters, 1972
Federal Way, Washington
Designed by Edward Charles Bassett of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)
Landscape Designed by Peter Walker of Sasaki, Walker and Associates (SWA) and PWP Landscape Architecture
National Honour Award, American Institute of Architects, 1972
Twenty-five Year Award, American Institute of Architects, 2001
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
At-Risk Landscape – The Cultural Landscape Foundation
Most Endangered Places – Washington Trust for Historic Preservation
Threatened with Development
Last update February 18, 2021
“Eden meets corporate America”
It is widely considered to be the first notable suburban corporate campus on the American west coast and one of the most significant corporate campuses in the world. It is not only a striking example of the merging of environmental consciousness and company branding, but emblematic of a period of experimental modern architecture and landscape that was socially conscious and placed a particular emphasis on a sensitive relationship with its site. Furthermore, the building is recognized to have been one of the first open-office layouts in the United States. It is the former international headquarters of the Weyerhaeuser forestry company, located in the City of Federal Way, 25 miles south of Seattle, Washington. Designed by San Francisco-based architect Edward Charles “Chuck” Bassett of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM) with Peter Walker, founding partner of Sasaki, Walker and Associates (SWA), and PWP Landscape Architecture, it was commissioned in the 1960s by George Weyerhaeuser, great-grandson of the company’s founder, and completed in 1972.
Set along a highly visible section of Interstate 5, the site consists of the original Weyerhaeuser headquarters building, a technology center, Weyerhaeuser Lake, North Lake, a Rhododendron Botanical Garden, the Pacific Bonsai Museum, and an estimated 7 miles of public hiking trails meandering through the heavily wooded 425-acre property. Its most recognizable feature is the low-slung office building, lovingly referred to as a “groundscraper” or skyscraper tilted on its side (a concept similarly explored by Arthur Erickson and Cornelia Hahn Oberlander for the Provincial Law Courts/ Robson Square in Downtown Vancouver). Spanning between two gentle slopes, the offices consist of a series of terraced concrete slabs, lushly planted with ivy and separated by full-height expanses of glazing. The building is flanked by a small lake to the north, and an idyllic meadow of colourful wildflowers and native grasses to the south, a favourite of nature photographers and the general public in the early spring. In an open office workspace set in a lush natural setting such as this, and with views out to the iconic Mount Rainier to the south, it is a design concept that has truly lived up to its intent to elevate the everyday experience of the employees.
 Save Weyerhaeuser Campus nomination, Washington Trust for Historic Preservation’s ‘Most Endangered List.’
Campaign to Preserve Eden
Our friends at The Cultural Landscape Foundation are involved in a massive effort, along with numerous other organizations, to preserve the Weyerhaeuser International Headquarters and surrounding landscape in Federal Way, Washington. The site is no longer occupied by the Weyerhaeuser forestry company, rather, it is now owned by the Industrial Realty Group, a Los Angeles-based developer, who is in the process of subdividing the property for development including 1.5 million square feet of warehousing on 132 of the 425-acre campus. The concern surrounds not only the impacts that this redevelopment will have on the integrity of the surrounding environment, but also on the vitally important relationship between the architecture and its site. “The landscape and architecture are absolutely inseparable” … ”if you take away the landscape there is no architecture.”
Information about the Weyerhaeuser International Headquarters:
 “Threat to Weyerhaeuser Campus Increases. January 18, 2021. The Cultural Landscape Foundation.
Support Efforts to Save this Landmark
If you wish to lend your support to the efforts to save this landmark, a letter-writing campaign is currently underway to both the City of Federal Way and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, both of whom are responsible for granting development approvals. An online petition is also circulating seeking signatures.
For more information and for contact details, please see the link below.SEND LETTERS HERE SIGN THE PETITION
- Wonderful Weyerhaeuser campus north of Tacoma can be saved, but not frozen in time. News Tribune Editorial Board. February 13, 2021. The News Tribune.
- A Fight to Save a Corporate Campus Intertwined with Nature. Jane Margolies. February 12, 2021. The New York Times.
- Fight over developing Weyerhaeuser’s former corporate campus centers on greenery. Jane Margolies (The New York Times). February 12, 2021. Seattle Times.
- The world’s most beautiful corporate campus is about to be turned into warehouses. Nate Berg. February 9, 2021. Fast Company.
- New Weyerhaeuser Campus Development Faces Pushback in Washington. Eric Baldwin. February 4, 2021. ArchDaily.
- The Cultural Landscape Foundation launches campaign to halt “inappropriate” development at historic Weyerhaeuser campus. Matt Hickman. February 2, 2021. The Architect’s Newspaper.
- Weyerhaeuser campus clash continues over warehouse plan. Olivia Sullivan. January 28, 2021. Federal Way Mirror.
- Threat to Weyerhaeuser Campus Increases. January 18, 2021. The Cultural Landscape Foundation.
- Save Weyerhaeuser Campus nomination, Washington Trust for Historic Preservation’s ‘Most Endangered List.’ Save Weyerhaeuser Campus.
- Docomomo US joins international campaign advocating for Weyerhaeuser Campus. February 2, 2021. Docomomo US.
- Whatever Happened to the Original Green Building? March 21, 2019. SOM.