The atrium of the John Edward Porter Research Center, part of NIH's Bethesda campus.
Conference rooms cantilever out into the atrium.

Medical Marvel


Ten NIH institutes come together under one roof in the John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center (PNRC). The Bethesda facility—which promotes research through collaboration—was conceived in two phases. The first was finished in 2004 and the second, designed by Perkins+Will, is now complete, doubling the size of the facility to 600,000 square feet.

Both sleek, glass-and-metal structures maximize daylighting and offer views of the NIH campus. To connect the old and new buildings, the architects designed a skylit, interactive atrium (pictured here) that architect Jeffrey Welter describes as “a hinge that promotes interdisciplinary initiatives.” Conference rooms, embellished with bright colors, cantilever into the space, which houses a monumental stair connecting the ground floor to the first level. The atrium includes a café, auditorium, seminar rooms and modern seating by Knoll. Equipped with LED lighting, a chilled beam system for heating and cooling and green roof overhangs, Phase II is expected to receive LEED Gold Certification from the U. S. Green Building Council.

ARCHITECTURE: JEFFREY W. WELTER, Associate AIA, LEED AP, BD+C, PMP, managing principal; DAN WATCH, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, managing principal; MANUEL CADRECHA, AIA, LEED AP, BD+C, design director; BRUCE McEVOY, AIA, LEED AP, BD+C, senior project designer, Perkins+Will, Washington, DC. CONSTRUCTION: WHITING-TURNER, Baltimore, Maryland.