Government/Institutional – Winner

Land Use Environmental Services Agency (LUESA)

Charlotte, NC


John Gaulden; Michael Spencer; Holly Christian; Keith Frankel; David Little; Melissa Panara; Lindsay Webb; James Canales

A local government agency changes how they relate to the community and how their space informs the customer experience.

As a highly progressive organization responsible for everything from enforcing building and zoning codes to managing water and land resources in the county, LUESA was seen as a bureaucracy more concerned with regulation than customer service.

To show that serving people is their priority, LUESA decided to completely overhaul the way they interface with the community. Such a move meant not only changing how LUESA operates—to become more welcoming and collaborative—but also changing their space to reflect their new focus.

In LUESA’s new four-story building, visitors are greeted by a sculptural reception desk, then directed to their relevant LUESA departmental station. As a result of this diffusion of services, there is no single linear path and no clustering of traffic. As a complement to the new open layout, integrated technology assists with queuing and provides customer wait times.

Low floor-to-floor heights led designers to remove the finished ceilings in order to maximize the space’s volume and create even greater visibility. In some spots, various overhead architectural elements now delineate different zones of activity.

The new LUESA setting also features a cheerful color scheme of green and blue, representing land and water, respectively, and a fun topography graphic, based loosely on the county’s terrain and applied to the interior conference rooms.


Judges Comments:

“Harmony between architectural elements throughout space, and balance of materials & color is strong. Love the angled/skewed Reception with backdrop of curved topography graphics.”

(Holly Christian)