On January 16, almost 100 ULI members were on hand to get a first look at the new National Public Radio headquarters at 1111 North Capitol Street, NE. The new NPR HQ incorporates the historic former C&P Telephone warehouse and is located on the not-yet-redeveloped edge of the emerging NoMa area. A portion of the funding for the project was realized from the sale of the existing NPR headquarters. The building’s interior design is completely mission driven, allowing all NPR functions to work together cooperatively. The design theme features interpretations of the radio spectrum in different colors, patterns, and wavelengths. The building has state-of-the-art technology, including its own Tier 3 data center, with complete redundancy (backup power) that will be used to maintain the 24/7 news cycle in which NPR engages. All of the peripheral window space is shared; the only closed offices are in the center of the space; all but a handful of employees will be able to stand up at their desks and see natural daylight coming in through the windows. . The project is unique in that it “marries” an adaptive reuse project with a new office construction and includes a variety of green elements throughout. The presentation was followed by a tour of the new facility and participants were able to view the new two story newsroom, and the location of new common space used to hold community forums or NPR events.
The building is not yet occupied by NPR, and the employees are expected to move to the facility in the next two months. There will be no break in NPR programming – the last program broadcast at their current home at 635 Massachusetts Avenue, NW will be immediately followed by the first broadcast at the new facility. During the case study, a panel presentation discussed the site selection process, the design elements of the building, the technology aspects of the project, and the historic preservation activity associated with the bringing together both the old building and new construction on the site. Panelists for the evening were:
- Joyce Slocum, Chief Administrative Officer, NPR (Moderator)
- Maury Schlesinger, Director, Real Estate and Administrative Services, NPR
- Yolanda Cole, Senior Principal, Hickok Cole Architects
- Bill Nussbaum, Executive Director, HQ Building Development, NPR