Making Air Waves

Making Air Waves

National Public Radio

Having outgrown its original home, National Public Radio (NPR) sought to unite staff across a collaborative, open-office environment. Their new 330,000-SF headquarters combines historic and modern architecture in DC’s emerging NoMa neighborhood for a mission-driven design that supports the organization’s goal to create a more informed public.

Transformed from the National Register of Historic Places’ original C&P Telephone Company building, NPR’s new homes tells the historic media brand’s story with each element of design – including a glass-wrapped corner lobby, which represents the organization’s virtue of transparent and honest journalism.

One of the building’s most memorable features is a dynamic glass fin system made of six shades of blue that serve as an abstract expression of sound waves. As the sun moves throughout the day, the fin’s shadow dances around the perimeter of the building, and into the workspace, showcasing a cascading array of beautiful blue light.

Located just blocks from the Capitol Building, this public-facing lobby makes the headquarters an exciting and accessible destination for tourists. Passersby can watch headlines scroll across the LED ticker above the entrance, peer through the windows to see the large digital media mosaic, or venture inside to peruse some of the lobby’s rotating exhibits.

Reporters, producers, and editors share a massive open office area dubbed The Bullpen to support ease of communication and generate a perpetual buzz within the space. A variety of meeting rooms, studios and quiet spaces identified in the brand’s signature colors surround the Bullpen and light up when occupied.

Designers worked closely with broadcast consultants to deliver high-performance studio spaces, including three live studios, ten live and post-production studios, a 300-person multi-functional recording studio, and six recording booths. An additional 100,000-SF double-height newsroom lies at the heart of the building, for easy accessible to all employees.

The 200-person Soundbites Cafe contains original 14-foot-high columns and features stadium style seating for staff events and collaboration among co-workers. Additional gathering spots and features include a 12,000-SF conference and training facility, a staffed fitness center and a 10,000-SF data and nerve center serving 26.4 million weekly listeners.

The facility is certified LEED Gold, with sustainable elements throughout, including a 32,500-SF green roof with honey bee hives. NPR celebrated 5 years in their new office in 2019.


1111 North Capitol St NE
Washington, DC


National Public Radio, Inc.
Boston Properties, Inc.


GC: Balfour Beatty
Structural: Thornton Tomasetti
MEP: Dewberry
Civil: VIKA, Inc.
Envelope Consultant: Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Landscape: Oculus
Graphics/Branding Services: Poulin + Morris
Lighting: Bliss Fasman Lighting Design
Studio + Theater Architects: Bloomfield & Associates
Acoustics: Shen Milsom & Wilke, Inc.
Furniture: Herman Miller, American Office
Photographer: Adrian Wilson, Anice Hoachlander, Devon Perkins


330,000 SF


Office, Workplace