Ellucian headquarters. © Garrett Rowland

Beacon of Energy

The vibrant, new global headquarters of the education-technology company Ellucian occupies the top three floors of a nondescript, six-story office building in Reston, Virginia. Its fresh, modern interiors were designed by Gensler as “a beacon for the company,” explains design director John McKinney. “Ellucian wanted to celebrate an open, transparent culture that promotes positive energy and connection.”

McKinney and his team conceived a collaborative work environment in lieu of traditional offices. Visitors enter on the fifth floor, where a “client-facing” gathering area takes advantage of the building’s only floor-to-ceiling window wall. There, atop the polished-concrete floor, a curving, 30-square-foot oak platform represents a community hub, with tiered seating for lounging or
client and staff meetings. The platform incorporates a staircase to the sixth-floor work areas.

Also on the fifth floor are a pantry and coffee bar; etched-glass-walled alcoves throughout the office provide spaces to congregate. Spiral stairs lead down to what McKinney calls the “staff-facing experience” on the fourth floor, where foosball, shuffleboard and quiet spaces encourage employees to relax and take breaks. Studio and video-conferencing areas are available. All three levels are color-coded by acoustical baffles that hang from the ceiling. Comfortable, modern furniture brings more bold color to the mix.

This innovative, LEED Gold-certified project won a 2018 AIA Northern Virginia award.

Interior Architecture & Design: Gensler, Washington, DC. General Contractor: Whiting Turner, Washington, DC.