The Greenville County Administration Buildings stand as a striking symbol of the City and County’s transformation and growth into a vibrant and innovative urban center. The iconic buildings redefine Greenville’s skyline, capturing the essence of its contemporary leadership. The design, coupled with the integration of new technology, reflects the County’s commitment to progress and transparency.
NELSON Worldwide partnered with world renown design architect Foster + Partners for this transformational project. As the architect of record and interior designer, NELSON Worldwide was entrusted with assembling a powerhouse team including Windward Lighting Studio (WLS; architectural lighting), Fuller Group (structural engineer), Simes & Rosch (mechanical, electrical, plumbing engineers), SeamonWhiteside (civil engineer), to bring this next-generation, Class-A project to fruition.
Greenville is a dynamic regional hub of economic activity and cultural vibrancy. The new Administration Buildings are an extension of the energetic, destination focused downtown area. The buildings also symbolize the County’s commitment to design excellence, smart growth and aspirational development. The project team, anchored by NELSON Worldwide in close collaboration with Foster + Partners, worked together with the County to create an iconic landmark that showcases commitment to continued growth and future focused solutions that serve the community.
The new Administration Buildings consist of two contemporary, fully-amenitized five and six-floor office towers connected by a pedestrian skybridge. Consolidating the full array of the County’s public services in one central location, the buildings consist of twin lobby levels housing Tax, Real Property Services, the Council Chamber, as well as future retail and fast-casual food options. The terrace level, housing the Probate and Magistrate Courts as well as supporting offices, features dramatic outdoor people space with places to sit and linger sheltered by the iconic canopy overhead. Upper floors include County offices, employee training and wellness zones as well as a variety of conference rooms and huddle spaces.
The design concept for the new buildings is rooted in transparency—a value that is both metaphorical and literal. The sleek, glass-clad façade allows a visual connection between the interior and exterior, symbolizing the county’s openness and accessibility to the community it serves. The architectural vision design by Foster + Partners aligns with the city’s aspirations to create a welcoming and inviting civic space. The buildings’ contemporary aesthetic and use of sleek materials reflect a bold departure from traditional governmental structures, establishing a visual identity and landmark that resonates with a growing and energetic community.
Due to the building’s emphasis on transparency in its design, concerns arose about the potential heat and solar gain resulting from incoming sunlight. WLS conducted various daylighting and sun studies to provide recommendations for suitable shading solutions that would establish an environment harmonizing comfort with visibility. Additionally, WLS was tasked with designing the building’s exterior and courtyard lighting, a challenge given the restriction of not attaching fixtures directly to the building itself. The installation above the courtyard is programmed for custom color patterns, allowing the Administration Buildings to exhibit university- or holiday-specific colors.
Throughout, the interiors embody a commitment to timeless elegance, durability, and a deep connection to community. The design creates a welcoming energy with a bright, clean aesthetic consisting of a neutral color palette and rich wood. Custom furniture solutions in the courtrooms, which are cohesive with the millwork, are investment pieces, built to last decades. With a focus on creating interior spaces that reflect the area’s growth and vibrant energy, the design team prioritized settings that took advantage of the abundant natural light, furthering the goal of fostering openness and connection. Quality finishes and furnishings underscore a forward-thinking, durable approach that considers the future needs of the County administration.
Central to the buildings’ functionality is the integration of advanced technology, which drives efficiency, enhances security, and improves the user experience. AI security and interactive kiosks for payment and information dissemination placed throughout reflect the county’s commitment to modernizing the customer experience, aligning with the broader goal of making services more accessible and convenient.
The county’s commitment to sustainable principles is manifest in numerous design features, such as the buildings’ orientation, shading solutions, and energy-efficient HVAC systems The choice of durable, high-quality materials underscores the County’s commitment to quality design, ensuring that the buildings are both functional and timeless.
The Greenville County Administration Buildings are a testament to the County’s vision for a thriving extension of Greenville’s downtown. The carefully considered integration of architectural excellence, new technology, and sustainability design sets a precedent for future community developments and reflects Greenville County’s commitment to being a destination of choice for residents, businesses, and visitors alike. As the growth of Greenville County continues, the Administration Buildings provide a powerful community and urban design standard that helps define the progress of the County and the city.