Project profile: Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps is a global relief organization that works to turn the crises of natural disaster, poverty and conflict into opportunities for progress.
Their new headquarters is comprised of the restoration of a 42,000 sf neglected historical landmark in a challenging urban district and an addition of similar size. An egalitarian layout and environmental features actualize Mercy Corps’ mission to foster sustainable economic development through collaboration and self-empowerment while also helping to revitalize the neighborhood.
Beyond supporting more efficient operations, promoting effective collaboration within the organization was a fundamental design goal. A spacious atrium that doubles as an informal meeting area is defined by a light-filled stairwell that connects the building’s levels. This airy core also functions as a stack ventilator. Thus, efficient building performance and enhanced employee comfort are fully integrated.
The addition’s exterior employs a weaving motif that both symbolizes its work approach and provides a harmonious complement to its historical counterpart. The headquarters also includes the Action Center – a window to the world – featuring interactive exhibits that educate visitors about the constantly changing nature of relief and development work and provide suggestions for concrete ways people can act now to help. Ground-floor community meeting facilities further extend the headquarters’ role within the community.
(2012 AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects recipient)