Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - Seattle, Washington

Located across the street from the Seattle Space Needle, the new campus of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation expresses its commitment to long-term thinking. The Gates Foundation sought a sustainable, low-impact campus built to last 100 years. JBC and the design team responded with a campus that incorporates native landscape material, ecological processes and an integrated solution for water management.

Working with NBBJ Architects and Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, JBC led design for water resource management, a 100 percent non-potable irrigation system, water harvesting, subsurface drainage, green roofs, and soils engineering. These strategies enhance the local watershed by restoring habitat, improving stormwater management, and reducing demand for potable water. JBC designed two acres of green roof to absorb 90 percent of rainwater. In addition, a rainwater-harvesting cistern collects about 2.37 million gallons annually—meeting almost all of the combined water needs for the buildings and landscape.

This LEED Platinum certified site reduces non-potable water use by 79 percent and returned 40 percent of the 12-acre site to green space.



  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation | Seattle, WA

  • Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Landscape Architects | Seattle, WA

  • NBBJ Architects | Seattle, WA

  • KPFF (Civil Engineer) | Seattle, WA

  • ARUP (MEP Engineer) | Seattle, WA

Site Features 

  • Fully integrated landscape soils and irrigation system

  • 1 million gallons of harvested water for re-use

  • 80% potable water use reduction

  • Living green roofs for reduced heat island and bird-friendly habitat

  • Sand-based structural soil below campus pavement

  • 97% recycled construction debris

  • 20% of the project was built with recycled content and materials sourced within 500 miles of the site



2014 American Society of Irrigation Consultants Excellence in Irrigation Honor Award