NPR Headquarters and Production Studios
NPR’s new home in Washington, DC is in a landmark-status, 4-story 1920’s warehouse and an adjoining new, 7-story building. Together they create a 440,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, LEED-Gold certified headquarters that brings together a staff of over 700 that previously worked from three separate locations.
The environmental graphics, donor recognition, and wayfinding sign program influences the exterior and interior of NPR’s new headquarters while illustrating the history of the multimedia company—from its beginnings in radio to its current involvement in video, apps, and photojournalism. A 52-foot-tall, LED-illuminated tower made of steel and glass, reminiscent of a radio tower, identifies the public entrance plaza and building. An LED “ticker” ribbon set above the entrance wraps around the building displaying up-to-the-minute headlines culled from NPR data feeds. The building’s main lobby features a 2-story-high, digital “media mosaic” composed of a series of LED screens that display NPR programming, news headlines, popular emailed stories, and member station information from the NPR website, news, and music apps. NPR’s mission statement runs along the walls of the lobby, creating a sense of motion—an ongoing theme used throughout the building.
The heart of the building is a 2-story, 100,000-square-foot newsroom with broadcast and production studios accommodating NPR’s non-stop schedule and serving as the center of NPR’s operations. To easily identify various production and recording studios, as well as floor levels and offices, the designers developed custom, large-scale numerals that visually reverberate like radio or sound waves. Visual references interpreting radio frequencies, depicted in different patterns and colors, are found throughout the project. Additionally, several large-scale wall murals were designed for various areas of the new facility, including one that covers the entire height of the central circulation staircase, inspiring employees with words relating to NPR’s mission such as “listen,” “innovate,” and “engage”.
Architect: Hickok Cole Architects