Besting an eclectic, high-profile shortlist including Foster + Partners, Murphy/Jahn, Thomas Phifer and Partners, REX, and Asymptote, Chicago-based Krueck + Sexton Architects has been selected to design a 475,000-square-foot federal office building in Miramar, Florida, AN has learned. The project will be Krueck + Sexton’s largest building to date.
The General Services Administration (GSA) is finalizing contract negotiations, so it could not definitively confirm the commission. “We’ve identified them as the preferred firm," Steven Smith, the GSA project manager, said. "Most likely we will go with them. The door has almost closed. We’re very excited about this firm’s potential.”
The building, which will be located close to Miami and Fort Lauderdale, will house an as yet unidentified law enforcement agency. Smith said that two sites are being considered within Miramar, which was chosen as the location due to the strategic needs of the tenant agency.
The project is a major break for Krueck + Sexton, perhaps best known for the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago, which enlivens the Michigan Avenue streetwall with its faceted facade. “For us to go against Foster with 10 people, it’s just incredible,” principal Mark Sexton said. “There were two big offices, Foster and Jahn, two medium sized, mid-career offices, our firm and Phifer, and two younger, very talented firms, Asymptote and REX. They’re all very accomplished firms.” Krueck + Sexton’s team will also include Thornton Tomasetti as structural engineers, Atelier Ten as environmental consultants, and PGAL as architects of record.
The agency has high ambitions for the project both in terms of design and sustainability. “We’re looking to this project to take our Design Excellence program to the next level,” Smith said. The building will seek a high LEED rating as well as a Sustainable Sites rating, a first for the GSA.
The program and the process have renewed Sexton’s belief in federal work. “It’s a bright spot that our government is looking for iconic, progressive design," Sexton said. "They’re even discussing the possibility of a zero-carbon building.” He also praised the competition’s open process. Sixty-five firms responded to an open call, which was then narrowed to six based on their portfolios.
Sexton underscored how taxing more elaborately-phased competitions—where firms are asked to develop detailed designs with little compensation—can be for offices, especially small ones. “This was the first GSA project we went after," he said. "They treat architects very well. They’re not abusive. It’s a great relationship."