WASHINGTON, D.C. | 70,000 sf | 2007

The Biotechnology Industry Organization BIO represents four diverse groups of membership: Industrial and Environmental, Health Care, Agriculture and Bioethics. Each group has its own myriad of issues and identity, yet BIO needs to represent them all out of their new 70,000 square foot offices in a new office building in downtown Washington with commanding views of major landmarks including the Washington Monument, the U.S. Capitol, the Jefferson Memorial, National Airport and the Smithsonian Institution.

BIO takes one and one-half floors of the city block-long,triangular-shaped Portals II Office Building. The design of the space breaks the large office into three distinct solid spaces of offices and closed support rooms and three distinct open spaces with partial height walls, extensive use of glass, and natural light that connects one side of the building with the other. Thus the floor is broken into neighborhoods, and there is a sense of scale and connection with the outdoors throughout the office.

The design also incorporates the theme of a dialectic between organic and synthetic – the essence of the work of BIO’s members — as the fundamental design concept for the space. Organic materials are used in a synthetic way (for example, leaves cast in acrylic resin wall panels) or synthetic materials are used in an organic way (for example, light fixtures arranged in a “bacterial” pattern on bent metal ceiling panels). Natural light is also brought into the space directly or through colored gels. There are approximately 160 offices and workstations, plus a small café and an extensive, multi-functioning conference center. SKB also provided furniture procurement services for the project.