Located on a block protected by a historic preservation board, this four-story facility provides office space, research facilities, and a 250-person conference center for an influential think tank specializing in research on international trade and monetary policy.
The building’s ground floor is devoted to a conference center and a terraced sculpture garden, which can open into each other by means of operable walls. The three-story box above houses the workings of the Institute. Fifty offices and workstations are oriented in a U-shaped formation around a sky lit atrium, at the center of which are a terraced reading room and a triple-height staff lounge. Extending from the second floor to the skylight is an information wall containing bookcases and storage units, as well as several display areas for works of art.
Devised as a modern palazzo, the building consists of two volumes, one containing the service core, and another larger volume housing the workspace. The office volume cantilevers over a stainless steel and glass entrance canopy, in keeping with the elaborate ornamental metal canopies prevalent on Massachusetts Avenue’s older Beaux Arts buildings. Both the core volume and the office volume are clad in a stainless steel and glass curtain wall, the relative lightness of which is balanced by the use of Jerusalem limestone at the base of the building, relating the new structure to its historic surroundings.