FASTC project wins local AIA award

View of the FASTC core campus area in Blackstone, Virginia. Photo ©Tim Griffith.
View of the FASTC core campus area in Blackstone, Virginia. Photo ©Tim Griffith.

In November, the American Institute of Architects Pennsylvania Chapter recognized the U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC) project in Blackstone, Virginia, with a 2022 Honor Award for Architecture during an awards ceremony. (FASTC recognition starts at 1:10:54). The AIA Pennsylvania chapter honor awards recognize projects which exemplify distinguished achievements in architecture.

GSA led this $426 million, joint project with the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service. GSA and State Department planned and delivered a mission-critical facility to prepare the Department’s security personnel, diplomats, foreign service officers and families for today’s overseas environment. The 1,350 acre campus consolidated 11 hard-skills training sites and opened in November 2019 as the nation’s largest provider of foreign affairs security training, serving over 10,000 State Department employees each year. Architect KieranTimberlake submitted the project nomination on behalf of the team.

The AIA Pennsylvania chapter’s jury shared, "We felt that the rigor of the design was really unmistakable. The detailing was exquisite both at large and small scales. The design was spot-on in terms of the environment and atmosphere that this architecture wanted to evoke in terms of the seriousness of the training program. There is a real relationship of the condition and experience of place and space that resonated with the program. The architecture speaks to a level of precision that also resonated very much with the kind of program and the learning that was going on with it."

FASTC features 500,000 square feet of space across 18 buildings supporting classrooms and offices; 19 hard-skills training venues including driving courses, firing ranges, and tactical training facilities; and support facilities like a vehicle maintenance shop. The team upgraded local infrastructure; cleared 490 acres of trees; and built 19 miles of high-speed driving tracks and four bridges. GSA partnered with State Department, the community of Blackstone, Fort Pickett leadership, AECOM, KieranTimberlake, Hensel Phelps, and M.A. Mortenson Construction Company on this project.

GSA provides national leadership, policy direction, and standards in the areas of architecture, engineering, urban development, sustainable design, construction services and project management. To ensure a high standard of excellence for the American people, GSA engages the best private-sector architects and engineers to design and construction new federal buildings through its internationally renowned Design and Construction Excellence Program. These partnerships allow for the development and implementation of innovative approaches to project management and execution, providing the federal government and client agencies the highest quality construction within budget and schedule.

This article is part of the Winter issue of the FOCUS newsletter. Please visit the Focus Newsletter page .

Last Reviewed: 2023-01-12