U.S. Department of Agriculture South Building Mode
Washington, DC

The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) South Building is a historic headquarters facility that was not flexible to current technology infrastructure demands. Syska Hennessy Group was engaged to master plan and provide the MEP systems design for the phased renovation of the 2.2 million sf of space.

Mechanical HVAC systems for the building were designed for the flexibility in future interior office space renovations. In order to avoid occupying additional mechanical space, the multidisciplinary team harvested unused space in the attic to place all new HVAC equipment while dealing with an existing structural system that was not intended to support vertical openings for duct distribution. This allowed USDA the flexibility to implement varying space plans and alter them over time without disruption to the basic engineering systems. These design innovations led to award recognition from ACEC at both the local and national level.

Syska integrated sustainable features throughout the project, but focused on this aspect specifically during the design of phases III and IV. These phases included daylight harvesting as well as heat recovery systems located in the unused attic space. The close collaboration of all team members resulted in a design that should achieve a LEED® Silver Rating when complete.


2,200,000 sf