Tetra Tech’s High Performance Buildings Group designed sustainable mechanical and plumbing engineering systems for First Tech Federal Credit Union’s headquarters, seamlessly integrating building systems with the exposed timber and other architectural features throughout the space.

Nestled on a 17-acre nature preserve, First Tech Federal Credit Union’s new Hillsboro, Oregon, office headquarters is a premier example of biophilic design, blurring the lines between the indoors and outdoors throughout the 156,000-square-foot space. Utilizing reflective surfaces on the envelope and cross-laminated timber (CLT) throughout the interior, this 5-story building successfully merges technology and functionality with the natural beauty that surrounds it. The use of CLT in this headquarters building required close coordination between the MEP designers and the contractor. As a prefabricated material, the building systems must fit precisely in and around the CLT slabs.

The biophilic and sustainable design features include a 2-story communal space that features floor-to-ceiling glass windows, providing airy views over the nearby wetlands. During warmer months, whole sections of these windows slide open to encourage interaction of employees with the natural surroundings. Radiant floors and displacement ventilation keep the space comfortable under the variable environmental conditions associated with the area, while reducing energy consumption. Throughout the building, spaces were designed to encourage collaboration and interaction, including the use of bleacher seating in proximity to the lunchroom and lobby, and flexible office spaces.

Sustainability was a key design principle throughout the project. Energy saving measures include highly insulated walls and roof, low-flow water saving fixtures, and under-floor air distribution to deliver superior air quality.

Images courtesy of Joel B Sanders Agency