Paladino was selected by Expedia Group as the sustainability consultant for its new headquarters campus in Seattle, Washington. The campus offers more than 1 million square feet including top-of-class offices, recreation facilities, a central utility plant, parking facilities, and a marketplace. Expedia Group’s campus program leverages its prime waterfront location and 40+ acre site to create varied destinations and provide activities and experiences. This includes new workplaces in existing buildings, illustrating the potential of adaptive re-use with Amgen’s former laboratory buildings.

Networks of walking trails, wi-fi enabled outdoor meeting spaces, and a restored shoreline connect employees with their immediate environment – inside and outside the property lines. The design is inspired by a mix of Expedia Group’s global travel lexicon, the multi-cultural employee base, and the Pacific Northwest coastal location.  Expedia’s project priorities include scalable growth, a campus that helps recruit top talent, and that links Expedia to the community, Fortune 500 peers, and its investors.

Paladino managed the sustainability practice for the project team to achieve healthy energy, water, carbon, and human performance targets; and measured the success of the design in meeting those targets through net present value and ROI calculations. The design approach of the Expedia Group campus is rooted in principles focusing on hospitality, biophilia, and adaptive re-use.

As the owner’s advisor for sustainability, Paladino led the creation of a Sustainability Brief, which identified and summarized the project aspirations and measurements of success. Paladino developed the integrated design schedule, and in conjunction with the project team, completed technical feasibility studies on design options. These options were evaluated in value analysis sessions, examining the operational implications using a total cost of ownership model.

In parallel, Paladino was responsible for keeping project goals in focus and guiding the design toward the agreed-upon results. Using sustainability as a driver, Paladino identified business value for Expedia Group that helped them make key project decisions. The biophilic design captures abundant natural daylight and expansive outdoor spaces for work and play; and connects Expedia Group employees with the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Construction on existing buildings began in 2017, and the first phase of development was complete in 2019.

The project sustainability approach was built upon four Big Ideas:

  1. Abundance Thinking
  2. Test & Learn Culture
  3. Connect with Nature
  4. Our Link to the World.

 Abundance Thinking

Abundant thinking is the idea that we have everything we need to achieve everything we want. We scanned the project to identify what the site offered in abundance.

The 40-acre site with existing buildings provided plenty of space to house Expedia Group’s workforce. The existing central utility plant (CUP) contained robust infrastructure. The CUP space was large enough that Expedia Group was able to repurpose a portion of the space for bike lockers including an indoor connection to the bike garage. The former lab buildings had incredible 16’ floor-to-floor heights and ceiling-to-floor windows with amazing views of Elliott Bay, offering an opportunity to transform into open, airy, flexible workspaces. Expedia Group was able to drive an angled 2nd-floor skywalk through three of the buildings, connecting the main gathering area and front door across three buildings. Seattle’s temperate climate also offered an abundance opportunity, with winds from the Puget Sound providing clean air.

Because the waterfront campus was a fill site, the team had the freedom to improve the site. The team could make the fill into rich soil that doesn’t use pesticides and is fertilized with compost teas.

Test & Learn Culture

Test & Learn Culture is a core technology industry principal that Expedia Group leans on for constant improvement through iteration. The integrated design team was challenged by Expedia Group to re-examine every assumption about workplace design. The Test & Learn Culture was exhibited through experiments to evaluate how employees should be supported in moving freely throughout the building and campus. Lighting scenarios were tested at offsite facilities so the team could fine-tune exactly the lighting required. The space was designed to be adaptive so the team can innovate now and into the future. The electrical distribution, medium pressure duct loop layout, and other design elements were each made to provide a strong foundation for innovation and adaptation over time.

Connect with Nature

This pillar is about blurring the boundary between indoor and outdoor spaces, and creating places for connection, contemplation, restoration, and activity. Expedia Group asked the team to bring in biophilic design elements to let nature be the star of the design – whether it was the view of the water, the changing seasons, or natural finishes of the interior. Daylight and views provide a powerful connection to nature, in part due to the expansive windows. The team collaborated to maximize views while providing high-quality light. Interior plantings were selected for their high oxygen content, supporting high cognitive function. Native and adaptive plants were used to reintroduce the Pacific lowland species to the site. Employees can use outdoor meeting and collaboration spaces, which link to the waterfront trail.

Our Link to the World

Expedia Group’s link to the world is about being good neighbors in Seattle and beyond. The campus links to the world physically and philosophically by representing Expedia Group’s values to neighbors, employees, peers, and investors. The campus was designed to be responsible and sensible, providing low carbon transportation options, removing contaminated soil, and illustrating progressive thinking. The HQ includes 400 stalls of bike storage, 48 showers, and a robust commute assistance program including classes about how to bike in traffic. Site parking will be adequate, even with significant plans for employee population growth, and there is a robust education program encouraging non-biking employees to optimize their commutes.

Certification Strategy

Expedia Group ambitiously approved a combination of rating systems. Balancing the varied requirements of multiple rating systems could create confusion, especially when you are certifying more than 1 million square feet of new and existing buildings. But because the rating systems were thoughtfully chosen based on Expedia Group’s values, the process to certify the project was harmonious with the design and engineering effort.

The Expedia Group headquarters project achieved Salmon Safe certification. Pursuing LEED v4 Gold and SITES v2 Gold.

  • 40-acre waterfront site located just outside of downtown Seattle
  • The campus blurs the line between work spaces and play spaces