NIH Clinical Research Center

Bethesda, MD
Owner: National Institute of Health
Architect: Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership
Engineer: Affiliated Engineers, Inc. (AEI)
Contract Value: $71.0 million

This 850,000 GSF project includes: research laboratories, a 250-bed hospital, an outpatient clinic, NIH offices, and other common facilities.   A key feature of this project is the proximity of laboratories to patient care.  NIH has established a tradition of rapidly moving scientific findings into mainstream medical practice, and the close relationship between laboratory and patient-care functions will continue this tradition.

The project consists of a low-rise structure that provides a humanly-scaled, readable, flexible, and efficient workspace for the staff, and a comfortable environment for patients and visitors.   Four brick wings, paired around landscaped courtyards, will flank a glass-enclosed science court.  This ten-story space provides a main gathering area and serves as the circulation hub of the complex.  A double-helix stair – designed to resemble the structure of the DNA molecule – serves as the defining element of the science court.  Connecting all floors of the CRC at alternating quadrants, the stair hangs from trusses overhead, allowing it to visually float and enhancing the overall lightness of the space.