Washington Fruit & Produce Company Headquarters
Architect: Graham Baba Architects
Owner: Washington Fruit & Produce Company
Location: Yakima, Washington
An oasis in a sea of pavement, trucks, and refrigeration units, this 17,500-square-foot office building is headquarters for the Washington Fruit & Produce Company in “Fruitbowl of the Nation” Yakima, Washington. Driven by the owners’ commitment to creating a respite from the industrial environment for their 60 employees, the landscape and architecture work in concert to explore the roots of the company and region.
The design team found inspiration in the single architectural reference provided by the client to create a structure that recalls a barn in a state of decay located where nature is in the process of reclamation. The single-story building is surrounded by earthen berms that allow it to nestle into the site while native vegetation encroaches on the roofline in a natural manner.
"This sits on the landscape beautifully and creates space for meaningful community." ~ Jury statement
The building is organized around a carefully landscaped courtyard garden visible from much of the occupied interior space. Taking its cues from the client’s reference, the building is wrapped in nearly 16,000 square feet of reclaimed barn wood, the slope and twist of its structural columns echoing a barn’s diagonal bracing. In many places, parts of the simple gable structure were removed and replaced with glass, giving priority to the landscape.
Inside, a raised floor hides nearly all of the mechanical systems, leaving work spaces free of cabling and devices. Lighting, though rarely needed thanks to Yakima’s sunny disposition and the north-facing window wall and south clerestory, is obscured and blends into the architecture. A lunchroom with a table that seats 30 hosts weekly meals when field staff return from the nearby orchards. This important event enables those who grow the fruit to interact with those who sell it.
Surrounded by the cacophony and bustle of industry, this project creates a quiet and contemplative environment for employees and a warm, inviting space for farmers and the public.
"The owners’ commitment to creating a respite from the industrial environment for their employees led to an exploration of curating views and outdoor spaces." ~ Jury statement