NIH Campus Conference Center (Building 31C, 6th Floor)

National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

Project Synopsis

NIH Events Management Division engaged LSY to be the architect for the renovation of Building 31C’s 6th floor conference center at the NIH Bethesda campus. The building was built in the 1960s, and the floor had not been renovated since it was built. Top level advisory committees, scientists, researchers, and doctors use the high-profile space, which hosts approximately 14,000 meetings per year. Often this space is the first impression of NIH that people receive resulting in one of the prominent project goals being to provide a timeless, flagship facility which is “clean but restrained,” as well as “scientific and modern.”

The project gutted the entire floorplate back to the structure except for the existing restrooms and stair towers. The program included two large conference rooms (to accommodate up to 200 occupants and divisible into two smaller rooms allowing for 100 occupants each), three smaller conference rooms for 20-30 occupants each, a registration station, a business center, catering kitchen, AV room, IT room, and a luggage check room as well as a management office.

The design team collaborated closely with the NIH Fire Marshal to accommodate the division of large conference rooms by adding a door to the egress stair, which increased the flexibility of the rooms for smaller conferencing events and thus increased space utilization. Additionally, acoustic designed walls and doors separate the conference rooms along with acoustically tuned wall and ceiling finishes to prohibit the transmission of between rooms.

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