Buro Happold, an internationally renowned engineering and consultancy firm, has expanded to the Washington, D.C. region with a new office and a growing, diverse team. First opened in 2021, the new location is spearheading major new works and sustainability initiatives as it builds on two decades of work in the Mid-Atlantic and the D.C. metro region. With the close integration of higher education experts from brightspot strategy and sustainability specialists from Paladino, two Buro Happold companies, the office now offers a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to its core engineering services.
Adding to 12 existing locations across the United States, the Washington, D.C. office leverages Buro Happold’s extensive portfolio of innovative projects ranging in scale from single buildings up to entire campuses and regions. Current works underway include Amazon’s HQ2 with architect NBBJ, the Union Station redevelopment and the mixed-use project Capital Crossing with architecture firm Ennead. Other projects now in design or planning include a major academic building at Johns Hopkins University (with Hopkins Architects in London), the Gensler-designed conversion of the Potomac River Generating station into a large mixed-use complex, as well as a major water reuse study. In the public sector, with dedicated support from Paladino, the Buro Happold Cities Team has been tapped recently to lead Clean Energy D.C. 2.0, a comprehensive energy and climate action plan.
An essential driver of the success of the D.C. office is Roger Chang, principal and leader of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) design team in D.C. and the overall office leader. A consummate practitioner and collaborator with over two decades of experience in building engineering, he supports a team of talented individuals with expertise across various fields, from front-end strategic planning through technical implementation.
Chang’s experience in complex cultural, higher education, and government projects — including extensive work with the Smithsonian Museum — brings an invaluable resource for project owners and institutions based in the region. Chang has presented and authored papers on high-performance design including at Greenbuild, the AIA convention, and other conferences.
His outstanding leadership also reflected in his recent appointment to the GSA Green Building Advisory Committee, Chang has contributed to two AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) top 10 winners and was recognized in 2020 as a Fellow of ASHRAE – the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning, their highest distinction. “Roger is passionate about integrated design and high-performance buildings, particularly in historic and cultural contexts,” says Buro Happold’s Managing Director, Jennifer Price. “It’s not coincidental that he has guided two AIA COTE Top 10 projects: the Wayne Aspinall Federal Building in 2014, and in 2018, the Smithsonian Institution’s Renwick Gallery.”
Chang’s team in D.C. offers services ranging from sustainability consulting to master planning services and structural and MEP consulting, with a focus on cultural, higher education, government, and commercial projects. The D.C.-area practice also brings together long-standing expertise from brightspot strategy in higher education and from Paladino with its focus on sustainability consulting. Together, these experts embody the spirit of Buro Happold’s mission-driven work and bring special depth to the firm’s portfolio in these areas.
New Client Engagement Lead
The Washington, D.C. practice has also announced the addition of Selena Lo, who joins this year as Client Engagement Leader for the U.S. region. In this role, she focuses on managing client accounts and supporting market sector strategies and strategic pursuits. With deep experience in the critical role of owner’s representation for major construction projects, Lo will also work on business development initiatives.
“We are thrilled to welcome Selena Lo to Buro Happold and our Washington, D.C. office, as our U.S. client engagement lead,” adds Buro Happold’s Price. “Selena will manage our client account program, support deepening client relationships, and help drive growth into our key sectors. She will also be a welcome addition to the leadership of our growing DC office.”
One of those key sectors is in higher education, supplemented by expert insights and support from the brightspot strategy’s East Coast team. The group’s experience in the Mid-Atlantic region is far-reaching, having worked with the Smithsonian Institution, local academic institutions like George Washington University and American University, and government agencies including the U.S. Department of State. In the public sector, with dedicated support from Paladino, the Buro Happold Cities Team has been tapped recently to lead comprehensive energy and climate action plans for various cities.
“These initiatives by Buro Happold help residents, businesses and government leaders collaborate to create cleaner cities with healthier futures,” says Chang. “Following in this path, the D.C. office is now in consideration to consult on other city and county plans addressing energy, sustainability and resiliency, helping to enact important clean energy strategies throughout the region.”
Less than two years after the establishment of the office its impressive roster of clients includes two federal agencies, the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations, and the U.S. General Services Administration. It has also collaborated with Fortune 500 companies, as well as sustainability-focused technology companies in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. The first project by the D.C. office was the Smithsonian Institution’s Kogod Courtyard, completed in partnership with Norman Foster. “We are excited for the D.C. office to expand our support of Federal agencies in their mission to serve the country by engaging opportunities in climate policy, infrastructure renewal, and healthy communities,” adds Chang.