NPR was in need of an environmental graphics and wayfinding sign program after relocating to a 440,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, LEED-Gold certified headquarters in Washington, DC.
A comprehensive environmental graphics, donor recognition, and wayfinding sign program was developed for NPR’s new headquarters illustrating the history of the organization—from its beginnings in radio to its current involvement in video, apps, and photojournalism. A 52-foot-tall, LED-illuminated tower made of steel and glass, reminiscent of a radio tower, identifies the building. LED lighting pulsing through the vertical icon tower, referencing radio waves, culminates at a large-scale NPR logotype. An LED “ticker” ribbon set above the entrance wraps around the building displaying headlines culled from NPR data feeds. The building’s main lobby features a 2-story-high, digital “media mosaic” composed of a series of LED screens displaying NPR programming, news headlines, and member station information from the NPR website, news, and music apps. NPR’s mission statement runs along the walls of the lobby creating a sense of motion—a visually dynamic effect used throughout the building.
The heart of the building is a 2-story, 100,000-square-foot newsroom with broadcast and production studios accommodating NPR’s non-stop schedule. To easily identify various studios, as well as floor levels and offices, custom, large-scale numerals that visually reverberate like radio or sound waves were developed.
To disseminate company information consistently, the designers created design standards and templates for electronic displays located throughout the building. Monitors found at elevator lobbies, in staff lounges, and in the staff café display press clips, human resources notices, the café menu, and more.
Large-scale wall murals were designed for various areas of the facility, including one that spans a 7-story core wall of the central circulation staircase. Consisting of words relating to NPR’s mission (“listen,” “innovate”), the mural is composed in a manner that emulates upward movement.
Poulin + Morris continued to work with NPR on a variety of projects for their new headquarters, including a permanent, interactive lobby exhibition entitled “This is NPR,” and branding and identity programs for the NPR store—NPR Commons and their staff cafeteria—Soundbites Café.