Major General Emmett J. Bean Federal Center Lease Backfill Modernization Project

Indianapolis, Indiana

Client: US General Services Administration

Size: 200,000 SF

Trivers Role: Lead Architect, Historic Architect, Interior Design

Photographer: Sam Fentress

Though the Emmett J. Bean Federal Center’s ownership and role in U.S. military actions has changed over time, today it stands as one of the United States’ largest military facilities, second only to the Pentagon. In 2018, Trivers was selected through the Design Excellence program to assist the GSA with their strategic priority to reduce the government footprint. Trivers is assisting the GSA with design for renovations and alterations to create new workplaces for multiple federal agencies.

Through a series of consolidation projects with other existing tenants in the building, approximately 200,000 sf has been made available for additional government tenant agencies to be housed within this historic property. The tenant housing plan for the project includes federal agencies that are relocating from leased buildings in the Indianapolis area to vacant space in the Bean center. There are two primary tenants known to the design team at this time. Because these primary agencies have differing lease end dates at their current facility and are at different stages in their POR development, the design team is working toward delivering multiple bid packages.

As lead architect for the project in partnership with HOK for workplace design, Trivers is working to balance multiple tenant agency requirements and schedules throughout the course of the project. In addition, our team is developing a Building Design Standard for the property while also defining any character-defining features from a historic perspective and a historic compliance report.

Though not an architecturally ornate building, the building’s historic significance lies in its functional importance. When constructed, the Bean Federal center became the nation’s first centralized location for army finance operations. The large, open floor plate in the original design facilitated efficient movement of paperwork and ability to house a high occupancy workforce. As lead historic architect on the project, Trivers is carefully documenting character-defining features and developing a historic compliance report. Not only is the design team proposing workplace concepts that will not have an adverse impact on the property, we are actually working to enhance and recreate the ways in which the building originally felt to its occupants. Current strategies include facilitating natural light penetration to the interior from light wells and exterior walls and reestablishing the central corridor as the primary spine of the building.

Concurrent with the backfill project is an Art in Architecture installation also managed by the GSA. The design team will be working closely with the artist to align Building Design Standard, tenant agency requirements and Art in Architecture installation to transform the building and workspace within.

Originally an excellent example of mid-century modern architecture with streamlined design and functional efficiency, modifications over the years have resulted in a loss of historic integrity, parapet failures and water infiltration. The project scale is enormous. Project scope includes replacement of the northern roof which covers approximately 4 acres. The façade repairs entail approximately 150,000 square feet of surface area. Additionally, repairs to over 2 miles of windows may be incorporated via a Contract Option.

Due to the scale and repetitive nature of the project, finding the best possible repair details is of the utmost importance to the design team and to GSA. Additionally, the project scope will include finalizing all exterior sections of the Building Design Standard. The repairs made through this project will need to support the overall long-term vision for the building that will be established as a part of this project through the completion of the BDS.