National Public Radio Headquarters Lobby

Nov. 26, 2013

As we reported back in November ("Next-Gen Lobbies"), commercial owners are investing in new lobby designs to reposition and rebrand. Another good example of this movement can be found in the new home of multimedia news organization NPR at North Capitol Street, NE, Washington D.C. in the NOMA (North of Massachusetts Avenue) business improvement district.

Poulin+Morris, the multidisciplinary design consultancy, turned the lobby of this 440,000-square-foot LEED-Gold certified headquarters into an interactive playground with a 70-foot-long exhibition entitled "This is NPR," as well as a two-story digital media mosaic that mirrors the NPR website in real-time. "[It] provides visitors with the same visual and informational experience as if they were interacting with the NPR website or either of the NPR apps on a one-on-one basis," says Richard Poulin.

The design team worked closely with project architects Hickok Cole and the client to develop a comprehensive visual communications, branding, and exhibition program for the entire building. "This collaboration was critical to the successful integration of our work to all exterior and interior architecture, so that it appeared intentional from the beginning, as opposed to an afterthought or an add-on at a later date," Poulin says.

Poulin+Morris worked with a media developer to create the interface for "This is NPR" that allows smart phone users to access a specifically designed website offering a selection of audio clips to accompany each of the five sections of the exhibition: History and Mission, Signature Storytelling, Grand Trunk Road, A Spirit of Innovation and A Community of Stations and Listeners. Besides the audio clips, "This is NPR" features two tiers of angled panels that display narrative text, images and video monitors. "All ideas, themes, narrative voices, and storytelling elements were based on the outcome of a two-day intensive brainstorming session with NPR staff members that was initiated and facilitated by the Poulin+Morris project design team," Poulin explains.

With a lobby they themselves conceived, which kicks up so much excitement for their brand's history and future alike, productivity must be at an all-time high for the employees on the floors above it.

Editors' Choice Projects of 2013
1 Novotel New York
By Stonehill & Taylor
New York City, NY
2 Cedar Rapids Public Library
By OPN Architects
Cedar Rapids, IA
3 Automattic | Wordpress Office
By Baran Studio Architects
San Francisco, CA
4 Farmers Fishers Bakers
By GrizForm Design Architects
Washington, D.C.
5 Cooley LLP Offices
By Gensler
Seattle, WA
6 National Public Radio Headquarters Lobby
By Poulin+Morris
Washington, D.C.
The editors of Interiors & Sources took a look back at previous issues and picked out their favorite projects. Click here to see which ones they chose!

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