County of Orange County Administration South
Santa Ana, California
Public-private partnership develops landmark county facility
County Administration South is the first phase of a 20-year civic center master plan intended to improve the County of Orange’s operational efficiency by unifying departments in a central, all-service facility. The LEED Silver project includes a 250,000-square-foot, six-story office tower over two levels of underground parking, plus a freestanding 7,200-square-foot conference center.
County Administration South is designed to not only meet—but to exceed—the AIA’s 2030 Commitment to reduce net energy consumption by 70 percent. The design maximizes passive systems such as proper building orientation and solar shading components that control heat gain while maximizing daylight within an efficient envelope. Energy-efficient HVAC systems and lighting controls further reduce energy demands.
Developed through a public-private partnership, the design incorporates many planning concepts and strategies found in private-sector office projects. For citizens, the project offers a modern approach to the public counter experience. The design for the walk-up counter area includes 13 key departments in a single location, allowing the public to address their civic needs in one place.
For County employees, County Administration South promises a centralized and efficient work setting. The design consolidates the County’s workforce and organizes departments into “neighborhoods”—office work environments that inspire collaboration and teamwork. By pulling private offices toward the building core, employee workstations are located along exterior windows to both improve long-term flexibility and provide natural daylight and views for all occupants.
At the ground floor, a separate, one-story conference center with a capacity of 240 people anchors the project’s entry plaza. The events building features a monumental signage wall of sienna-colored stone, which contrasts with precast concrete used at the main building and relates to a historic courthouse one block away, connecting the old with new.