The 1.2-million-sq-ft, 11-story U.S. Coast Guard headquarters project is situated on a severely sloping, 176-acre site. That factor was one of many that made construction challenging for numerous specialty contractors, including curtain-wall and window contractor Harmon Inc.

Because some areas of the project site did not allow the specialty contractor to set up its equipment and work from the exterior, the firm was forced to install the curtain-wall system and windows from the inside of the building. Due to these limitations, Harmon's crews carefully guided the shop-glazed units into the building and then, from there, manipulated them into place.

Adding to the challenge was the atypical design of the curtain wall, which consisted of 3,600 pre-glazed units, with 1,800 unique sizes, shapes and configurations. The system's complexity required the shop and field teams to coordinate closely to ensure that each unit was installed in the correct location.

Furthermore, the system's design used more than three thousand 14-in. custom exterior vertical sun breaks for both the curtain wall and the strip windows. Harmon designed the sun breaks to be applied to the units after installation on the building.

The facility, which is located on a National Historic Landmark site, is targeting LEED Gold certification.


U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

Key Players

owner U.S. General Services Administration

Design-Builder Clark Construction Group

Construction Manager Tishman-AECOM

Architect of Record for HQ Bldg. WDG

Interior Fit-out Architect HOK Interiors

Landscape Architect HOK Landscape

Architect for CUP, Garage McKissack & McKissack

Exterior Glass and Glazing Harmon

Quality Control McKissack & McKissack

Structural Engineer Cagley & Associates

Electrical-Mechanical Engineer Girard Engineering

Civil Engineer Loiderman Soltesz Associates

Skin Consultant Tadjer Cohen Edelson

Geotechnical Consultant ECS Mid-Atlantic

Fire, Life Safety Consultant ARUP

Cast-In-Place Concrete Clark Concrete

Foundations ClarkFoundations

Excavation Subcontractor Metrol-Total JV

Electrical contractor Dynalectric

Mechanical contractor John J. Kirlin

Glazing contractor Harmon