National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

From improving a layout to enable teamwork to expressing culture through design details, the built environment can enable organizational mission and strategy.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) was in need of a re-imagined workplace to encourage a new way of working, better in line with their values. The mission of NINDS is to reduce the burden of neurological disease through the support of nervous system research and the training of investigators in the field of neuroscience.

With this lofty goal, fostering collaboration and attracting top talent are key to the continued success of the Institute. This renovation transforms inefficient and dark office suites into an open, light-filled workplace fit for an organization focused on the future.

Bethesda, MD

11,500 SF

Interior Design
Building Systems Engineering

Year / Status

Space for collaboration and chance meetings

This shift was achieved by eliminating departmental suites and opening up the floor with a large curved corridor that serves as the primary circulation path.

Along this curve, a flexible area provides space for collaboration and the opportunity for chance meetings to bring a greater sense of community. Private offices and large meeting spaces are all oriented around this core that features expansive views of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus.

The overall design aesthetic is inspired by the synaptic spark of a neuron, a central element of the organization’s research. Functioning as information messengers, neurons use electrical impulses and chemical signals to transmit information to the brain and the nervous system. Design details such as hexagonal ceiling tiles, linear lighting placement, and abstract patterns come together to evoke this energy and connectivity, fostering a personal connection with the space and NINDS’ mission.

Promoting wellness with natural light

An open floor plan in combination with interior glass partitions provides over 80% of offices with direct access to natural light. The design balances private workspace for heads-down work with open, flexible communal space. Built for adaptability, all offices are modular in design with demountable interior partitions. This allows for future expansion and flexibility in layouts of departments.

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