Orange County Sanitation District Headquarters Complex

OCSD Headquarters Mass Timber Lobby

Orange County Sanitation District Headquarters Complex

“Honesty, Integrity and Respect” for Environment, Community

The new Orange County Sanitation District Headquarters Complex at Plant 1 is designed to illustrate OC San’s core values of “honesty, integrity and respect for interactions between employees, the greater public and community.” Working closely with OC San, our HDR team developed a design solution that engages the public through educational experiences, prioritises employee well-being and returns value for public investment, all while focusing on precedent-setting, but cost-conscious, sustainability goals.

Net-Zero Design

With nearly every design feature contributing to improved green building performance, the overall design is practical, timeless, and thoughtful. Hybrid mass timber construction combined with expressed steel-braced frames reduces the overall weight of the structure and allows for faster and safer on-site erection. It also provides a natural warmth to the interior of the building while reducing the overall carbon footprint of its construction. Other sustainable design features that target LEED and net-zero energy certification include:

  • Electric vehicle charging stations
  • Low-impact development infrastructure
  • Sunshading and building orientation to maximise daylighting while reducing glare and solar heat gain
  • Biogas energy generation and photovoltaic panels for net-zero energy use
  • 100% building heating provided from waste heat of the plant operations

A Community Destination

Ergonomic workplace environments offer flexibility for different work styles, opportunities for connection and collaboration, and seamless integration of technology. Public spaces capture ample natural light, while being sensitive to glare and heat gain and supporting a high level of activity with acoustic sensitivity. To emphasise a welcoming posture towards the community, an immersive indoor/outdoor exhibit at the entrance of the space informs and inspires the wide variety of visitors coming to OC San. Public tour touch points are thoughtfully integrated throughout the indoor/outdoor exhibit and the building interior. A new pedestrian bridge spans from the Headquarters building over a heavy traffic road, to the inside of the secured perimeter of the treatment plant, providing safe access for employees, utilities, and visiting tour groups.

 Jury Comments from AIA LA | COTE NEXT Awards 2019:

The integration of sustainable strategies was very embedded within the design. We appreciated how this team was really looking at innovation and new models that can impact future development within the region and have a bigger impact beyond just a single project. We were very impressed with the energy performance and the renewable strategies. This project had so many integrated sustainable strategies, many of, which are not in widespread use, such as mass timber frame. It’s particularly notable for its use of bio-gas as a resource which is normally something that's considered waste. What was unique about this project is the ability to use its own infrastructural processes as an energy source for itself.

OCSD Headquarters Mass Timber Lobby
Orange County Sanitation District

Fountain Valley, CA
United States

109,000 sf (10,126 m²)


Finalist (2023)
Unbuilt Sustainable Non-Residential Project, A+ Awards
State of California Mass Timber Grant (2020)
$40,000 Mass Timber Grant
California GovOps
Honor Award (2019)
Southern California Development Forum