Longtime Rosslyn Architectural Firm Designs Client- Driven Spaces

When KGD Architecture moved to Rosslyn in 2007, Principal Manoj Dalaya says the team was attracted by the neighborhood’s proximity to D.C. and “superb” connections to Metro and major highways in the D.C. area.

“It was important that KGD moved to a D.C. core location that also offered easy access to major regional roads,” Dalaya says.

Soon after KGD arrived at 1300 Wilson Boulevard, they began to see the benefits of their new home. With the move from suburban McLean, Va., recruitment did, indeed, become easier. Clients liked having them in Rosslyn, too, and the KGD team found themselves hosting more meetings in their new office.

Now, ten years later, KGD Architecture is considered one of the early arrivals to Rosslyn’s creative corridor. Although they are a global company with a broad portfolio and offices in Boston and Bangkok, their largest team of 40 remains headquartered here.

The Art of Office Design

KGD Architecture is named after founding principals Ben Kishimoto, Chris Gordon and Manoj Dalaya. In addition to architecture, KGD’s work encompasses interior design and masterplanning. The team approaches design as a process through which they learn about their clients and harness this knowledge to create spaces that reflect the client’s identity. “We believe that exceptional and thoughtful design results in successful and versatile spaces that visually communicate the client’s values and culture while enhancing performance and function in a healthy environment,” Dalaya says.

One of KGD’s major areas of work is designing office spaces and campuses for a variety of corporate clients. They also specialize in designing secure facilities for companies that deal with national security, and have completed projects for The Aerospace Corporation, the Institute for Denfense Analyses and MITRE, among others.

Dalaya says KGD is noticing an increase in clients trying to fit more people in a defined area, but in a way that’s flexible and fosters collaboration and a sense of fun. “Companies don’t want to pack more people into a work area,” he says. “They want staff to have more natural light and acoustical privacy.”

Recently, KGD hosted “Design for the Workplace: Return on Creativity” in partnership with Arlington County Economic Development and the Rosslyn BID. It focused on the development of office designs that foster creativity. KGD also provided insights on what inspires them when designing a workspace.

“Rosslyn has many creative companies, so during the panel we were offering some ideas for implementing designs that inspire workers,” Dalaya says. “Even if you don’t have an art budget, you can form spaces that enhance creativity and provide a sense of well-being through the clever use of light and color.”

Shaping Local Development

KGD Architecture has designed numerous, award-winning affordable housing projects throughout Arlington County, frequently teaming up with the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH). In 2014, the KGD-designed Arlington Mill Residences was named the “Best Housing Development in Virginia.” It was a trailblazing project in many ways, being the first new redevelopment effort along Columbia Pike in many years and the first residential project in Arlington County to be “district energy ready.”*

More recently, they designed The Springs, another affordable housing project that is situated between the urban Ballston and residential Bluemont neighborhoods in Arlington. It includes 104 units and two courtyards for resident activities. It is also home to the new APAH headquarters.

KGD is also actively engaged in Rosslyn. Since 2013, Dalaya has been involved with the Rosslyn BID, currently as a member of the Urban Design Committee, which, among other tasks, reviews redevelopment projects and County planning initiatives in Rosslyn to ensure they are serving neighborhood residents and businesses. Prior to this, Dalaya was on the Board of Directors of Rosslyn Renaissance, a public-private partnership that served the neighborhood and is the BID’s parent organization.