United States Coast Guard Headquarters: Lobby / Entry Sequence

Washington D.C., N/A / United States of America

United States Coast Guard (USCG) Headquarters entry sequence and lobby design became an opportunity to celebrate the history and dignity of the USGC. The interior of the entry lobby frames views of a landscaped ceremonial plaza. A monumental two story zinc clad portal announces entry to visiting dignitaries and heads of state. A skylight caps this soaring space and provides an abundance of natural light and changing shadow patterns. A large glass wall facing the plaza, allows the natural materials of the exterior to flow into the lobby, blurring the reading of inside and out. Interior details act as metaphors for the Coast Guard, such as the cable stay glass wall which evokes masts and rigging and a wood floor that emulates the teak patterns found on early coastguard sailing vessels. The skylit zinc wall provides a backdrop for an art installation which is an abstraction of the star chart that was inspired by history of maritime navigation and its central importance to the Coast Guard principle that “mission excellence is our North star”. The teak floor of the lobby flows in to a portal that leads to a glazed elevator bank that provides views of the National Mall beyond.

Architect of Record


Associate Architect

WDG Architecture, PLLC


General Services Administration

General Contractor

Clark Construction


  • Environmental Systems Design, Inc.
  • Thornton Tomasetti
  • William H. Gordon & Associates