Washington Fruit & Produce Company Headquarters

Honor Award

General Design

Yakima, WA, USA
Berger Partnership
Client: Washington Fruit & Produce Company

"An Eastern Washington fruit and produce company has used carefully designed landscape to create a headquarters site that celebrates its connection to the region’s agricultural history and creates an inspiring work environment for its employees. Surrounded by a major highway, industrial buildings, and the company’s own processing facilities, a simple earthen landform of native plantings wraps the building and courtyard to make a calming, lush, inward-focused green oasis that resembles the local ecology in miniature. A walkway cuts through the berm, providing glimpses of the surrounding hills, and a green roof on top of the lunchroom reinforces the company’s intrinsic ties to the land."

- 2019 Awards Jury

Project Credits

  • Berger Partnership (Landscape Architect)
  • Design Team:
    • Jason Henry
    • Stephanie Woirol
    • Brad McGuirt
    • Magda Hogness
  • Collaborators:
    • Graham Baba Architects (Architect)
    • Interior Motiv, LLC (Interior Designer)
    • M.A. Wright (Structural Engineer)
    • Arup (MEP Engineer)
    • Meier Engineering (Civil Engineering)
    • Brian Hood Lighting (Lighting Design)
    • Dragonfly Irrigation (Irrigation Design)
    • Artisan Construction (Contractor)
    • Elevation Contracting (Landscape Contractor)
    • Stusser Woodworks (Custom Furniture)
    • MBI (Office Furniture)
    • Kevin Scott (Photographer)

Project Statement

Washington Fruit & Produce Company grows and ships premium fruit around the world. The owners wanted to create a work environment representative of the company and their connection to the area's agricultural history. Located in arid Eastern Washington, surrounded by a major highway and industrial fruit storage and processing facilities, a simple earthen landform of native plantings wraps the building and courtyard creating a lush green oasis. This calming setting provides light-filled upward and inward views of the surrounding hills while screening the nearby industrial activities.

Project Narrative

Site Context

The Washington Fruit offices sit in the fertile valley created by the floodplain confluence of the Yakima and Naches Rivers. At the turn of the century, this area was cleared, graded and turned over to various forms of agriculture. Washington Fruit has occupied the site for many years, with the company's onsite processing and storage facilities which are just to the east of the new offices. The site's most remarkable feature is the proximity to the river and the distant view of the hills to the north.

Connection to the Land

As part of balancing cut and fill on the site, a major landform was designed to embrace the structure and choreograph the entry experience, creating a structured microcosm of the nearby riparian corridor and establishing a sense of privacy in a wide-open space for the building occupants. The berm screens the adjacent industrial activities and highway noise, directing views from the headquarters to the surrounding hills.

Much in the way the riparian corridor and river serve as an oasis in this arid climate, the courtyard provides a cooling and calming effect. A board-form concrete wall, chosen for its similarity to the roughhewn wood clad building, bisects the berm and connects to the earth-sheltered lunchroom. This living roof provides a literal and symbolic connection to the land.

A wood-planked walkway, the main entry and exit point, bisects the courtyard and peels back the berm giving those leaving the site magnificent views of the distant hills and the gap through which the Yakima River passes. The entry walk is elevated slightly above the adjacent landscape giving the impression of a boardwalk, strengthening the riparian feel of the landscape. Floor to ceiling windows flood the interior with views, ensuring everyone visual access to nature and light.

Sustainability in an Arid Climate

Receiving an average of eight inches of rain per year, the site accommodates sustainable water use. All stormwater is collected and infiltrated onsite, reducing irrigation demand for the plant materials. Irrigation water is from non-potable sources. Soils and stones are from onsite or nearby local sources. Native species selected from the nearby riparian corridor and the surrounding hillsides improve habitat and require little water. The layout is evocative of both natural patterns and the ordered row planting of the site's agricultural past. Strategically placed trees, more densely planted on the south side, and the agricultural shade structure reduce the heat island effect.

Native species from the nearby riparian corridor and the surrounding hillsides demonstrate their beauty and ability to adapt to a managed landscape. The planting recalls both natural patterns and the ordered row planting of the site's agricultural past. A reminder of some of the first ornamental trees planted in the valley, non-native but culturally significant DED-resistant American elms and sugar maples, provide shade for the parking areas. Native Rocky Mountain Iris bloom in the early summer adding a surprising pop of purple and blue.

Agricultural Influence

Washington Fruit and the community in which it resides have a strong connection to agriculture. The design team, who was shown an old barn as inspiration by the owner, sought to incorporate elements of that connection into the design. The core planting and native stones are laid out in a grid reminiscent of rows of orchards or crops. The grid dictates the layout of the building's structural framework, and the building itself is evocative of a portion of an old barn structure. An agricultural shade cloth stretched over a trellis typically used for growing hop vines marks the entrance and provides much needed cover from the bright sun for the parking area.

This handsome and honest corporate headquarters building and landscape far surpass the industry standard and serve as proof of Washington Fruit & Produce's longstanding commitment to its employees, which in turn fosters a highly dedicated and productive organization.


Product Sources: HARDSCAPE

  • Stepstone narrow module pavers

Product Sources: LIGHTING

  • Bega

Product Sources: FURNITURE

  • Stusser Woodworks

Product Sources: FENCE/GATES

  • Artisan Inc. (general contractor)

Product Sources: IRRIGATION

  • Hunter

Product Sources: LUMBER/DECKING

  • Cumaru decking, Col-Met steel edging

Product Sources: OTHER

  • City Elements by HessAmericaThe Archetype LED by Kim LightingLightwild LumenPower Plus 2.1 by Lightwild

Plant List

  • American Elm
  • Arrowleaf Balsamroot
  • Barrett's Penstemon
  • Basin Wildrye
  • Bigleaf Lupine
  • Bitterroot
  • Blanketflower
  • Blue Bunch Wheatgrass
  • Blue Fescue
  • Blue Flax
  • Cardwell's Penstemon
  • Columbia Lewisia
  • Creamy Buckwheat
  • Cut Leaved Penstemon
  • Elfin Thyme
  • Feather Reed Grass
  • Firecracker Penstemon
  • Incense Cedar
  • Indian Ricegrass
  • Line-Leaves Daisy
  • Missouri Evening Primrose
  • Mock Orange
  • Orange Butterflyweed
  • Orange Globemallow
  • Paper Birch
  • Pearly Everlasting
  • Quaking Aspen
  • Red Columbine
  • Redtwig Dogwood
  • Rocky Mountain Iris
  • Rocky Mountain Penstemon
  • Scouring Rush
  • Showy Daisy
  • Shrubby Penstemon
  • Snow Buckwheat
  • Soft Rush
  • Sugar Maple
  • Sulfur Buckwheat
  • Sunset Hyssop
  • Tufted Hairgrass
  • Venus Penstemon
  • Water Sedge
  • Western Goldenrod
  • Woolly Sunflower
  • Yarrow