Columbia, MD


Service Type

Project Type

40,000 sf

LEED Certification
LEED Silver Certified


USRA is an independent nonprofit organization focused on advancing space related sciences through innovative research, technology and education while promoting space policy and raising awareness to university faculty, private-sector clients and government visitors. The multidimensional characteristics of space exploration and research, the organization’s main focus, are exhibited through architecture and materiality, conveying a sense of unending, boundless and expansiveness throughout the facility.

Visitors and staff are greeted by display elements that describe the science/research aspects of USRA’s mission and express the innovative nature of their work. Staggering the displays conveys a sense of expansiveness and provides varying degrees of perspective. Lighting is used to increase the feeling that the lobby, similar to space, has no boundaries. Reflective surfaces such as black glass, white panels and grey flooring provide expansiveness and depth. The black glass also provides privacy and enclosure to the varying sized meeting spaces. These spaces are centralized to increase staff connection. The entry wall displays university names with whom USRA collaborates.

Wood panels add warmth and denote the multipurpose room which opens up to the lobby. Twelve foot high patterned glass visually connects the lobby with the workspace and promotes a culture of openness and transparency. Golden toned teaming areas divide the open office into smaller enclaves and create spaces for staff to interact and utilize the writing surfaces for shared knowledge. The café accesses an outdoor patio and provides a range of seating environments for staff, fostering a workplace of wellbeing and choice.