When tasked with designing the district office for a company of builders passionate about craft, the stakes were high to create a modern office environment that would embody the integrity of the client’s construction work and support the diverse activities of its employees. ZGF worked closely with the client, Hensel Phelps, to conceive of a branded design solution authentic to its values.

To evoke the high quality of Hensel Phelps’ craft, a material palette of blackened steel, gun-metal, reclaimed wood, and concrete floors was carefully curated. Throughout the office, highly finished spaces are peeled back to reveal the building’s underlying bones as a nod to Hensel Phelps’ reputation for building both complex, high-performance buildings and refined interior environments. Hensel Phelps’ signature colors—crimson and gold—are used as bright accents throughout the office. Notably, ‘the stich’—an oblique crimson ceiling fissure—connects primary social zones and draws users through the space. Environmental graphic installations further contribute to the branded environment.

The new office houses diverse space types—open plan work stations, private offices, privacy nooks, and digital collaboration zones—to provide staff with flexibility and choice, as well as dedicated space for collaborative or focused work. Communal kitchens invite employees to gather, and a large multipurpose room features flexible partitions to support everything from employee training sessions to company events. 



Environmental graphic installations and signage contribute to the branded environment and express Hensel Phelps’ legacy as a service provider and builder of some of the country’s most significant projects. A woodblock wall in the reception area honors the individuals who have celebrated 20+ year careers at Hensel Phelps and who have helped to shape the culture of the Mid-Atlantic District Office. A timeline wraps the interior core walls and graphically narrates the history of Hensel Phelps nationally and in the region. The company’s significant contributions in the DC metro region are represented in a tone-on-tone silhouette graphic in the kitchen. Office, workstation, and room identification provide wayfinding throughout the office.