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.

This renovation transforms inefficient and dark office suites into an open, natural light-filled workplace for a leading research group focused on making advancements in healthcare through neuroscience.

Bethesda, MD

11,500 SF

Interior Design
Building Systems Engineering

Year / Status

Our Approach

The design solution balances private workspace for heads-down work with open, flexible communal space. The result is a workplace that encourages collaboration, better serving the organization’s core work behaviors and values.

Reorienting the former central corridor to a curved and open multi-purpose space, the design creates opportunities for breakout and collaboration spaces for departments to share. Further opening up the space, cross corridors bisect the long, linear floorplate, letting natural light deeper into the space and featuring expansive views of the historic NIH campus. An open floorplan in combination with interior glass partitions provides over 75% of offices with direct access to natural light.

All offices are modular in design with demountable interior partitions. This allows future expansion and flexibility in layouts of departments. Also built for adaptability, two conference rooms open to one another to accommodate a variety of different meeting sizes. Movable glass partitions further open the conferencing spaces to the main circulation path, providing the opportunity to host larger functions.

A full-suite of building systems upgrades, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems, deliver a welcoming, comfortable workspace built for the future.


The synaptic spark of a neuron, a central element of the organization’s research, provided design inspiration and influenced the lighting design, hexagonal ceiling tiles present in high traffic areas and finishes. Complete with the open floor plan, the design evokes the organization’s mission and creates a personal connection with the space.