Ashburn, Va.

Rafael Viñoly Architects


The more successful buildings by Rafael Viñoly, FAIA, display distinct athletic gestures—from the smoothly arcing roof of the 1994 Lehman College Physical Education Facility in New York to the exuberant, glass-barrel-vaulted roof of the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts in Philadelphia. With the newly completed Janelia Farm Research Campus outside Leesberg, Virginia, however, Viñoly has exchanged such feats of bravura for a subtler move—that of merging a 947-foot-long, 280-foot deep, curvilinear building with the earth. By deftly inserting a three-tiered, terraced structure into the gentle slope of a hill to serve as a research  center for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the Uruguayan-born, New York–based architect has created a dramatically deferential work of  architecture. Although the planting needs about five more years before hard edges of the building begin to be softened by the landscape, the concept is already compelling.

The gently serpentine building is composed of three floors embedded in and terraced down a slope to the tributary. Two skylighted staircases divide it into thirds and help give a sense of orientation to the occupants.  The lowest level, defined on the exterior by curved fieldstone walls, opens into a lobby leading to the auditorium, large seminar room, as well as dining room, pub, and other communal facilities. Throughout, square, glassed-in atriums bring additional daylight inside. On the second and third floors, labs overlook glazed corridors, which in turn reveal views of roof gardens and the distant landscape. Along these two tiers of roof terraces, the architects situated offices clustered in square glass pods, where computer research and meetings could occur near the actual laboratories themselves. The poured-in-place concrete and steel hybrid structure for the “landscape building,” as it is called, gives way to structural glass extending along the serpentine corridors that separate the  labs from the offices and grassy terraces. Glass beams, columns, and walls of low-E clear glass allow the scientists unimpeded glimpses of pastoral landscape for dazzling, 88-foot-long spans.


Howard Hughes Medical Institute – Robert H. McGhee, Institute Architect and Senior Facilities Officer.

Owner’s representative:
The Mark Winkler Company, Washington, DC (Now Duke Realty, Alexandria, VA)

Project Manager:
Jacobs Facilities Inc., Washington, DC

Rafael Vinoly Architects, PC.
50 Vandam Street
New York, NY 10013
Tel: 212-924-5060
Fax: 212-924-5858

Rafael Vinoly FAIA
Lead Designer

Jay Bargmann AIA
NCARB Project Director

Sami M. BaSuhail AIA, Charles Clements AIA, and Bob Steel RIBA
Project Managers

Charles Blomburg AIA
Enclosure and Curtain Wall Technical Director

Anjanette Green

Interior designer:
Rafael Vinoly Architects and Robert McGhee, HHMI Institute Architect

Structural Engineers:
Thornton Tomasetti Engineers, Newark, NJ

Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Fire protection: 
Burt Hill, Washington, DC
Flak & Kurtz, New York, NY

Civil Engineer:
Dewberry and Davis, Fairfax, VA

Landscape Architect:
Dewberry and Davis, Fairfax, VA  with Paula Hayes, Landscape Artist, Brooklyn, NY


Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design, New York, NY

Acoustical, Vibration, Telecom/Data, Security, Audio Visual
Shen Milsom & Wilke, Arlington, VA

Laboratory Consultant:
Research Facilities Design, San Diego, CA

Code Consultant:
Hughes Associates, Baltimore, MD

Food Service Consultant:
Cini Little International, Inc. Germantown, MD

Green Roof Consultant:
Roofscapes, Inc.  Philadelphia, Pa

Robert Schwartz Associates, New York, NY.

Construction Manager:
Turner Construction Company, Washington DC


Brad Feinknopf
Jeff Goldberg
Paul Warchol

Renderings by Rafael Viñoly Architects

CAD system, project management, or other software used:
Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2002




Structural system
Landscape Building:
Hybrid concrete/steel structure with Cast-in-place reinforced concrete for the basement and lower levels and steel frame and composite decks for top floors.

Cast-in-place post-tensioned reinforced concrete in the parking garage.

Structural glass, glass curtainwall and stainless steel framed enclosure system

Exterior cladding

Stainless Steel/Glass Curtainwall:
Custom designed stainless steel and load bearing glass curtain wall and skylight system by Rafael Viñoly Architects, manufactured by Enclos Corp., Eagan, MN

Architectural cast in place concrete by Miller & Long, Bethesda, MD Architectural pre-cast concrete panels by Shockey Precast Group, Winchester, VA

EIFS, ACM, or other:
Exterior soffits in custom color direct applied exterior finish system by Corev.


Sarnafil Thermoplastic Green Roof


All glass is low-E and low iron including, insulated glass units, load bearing laminated insulated glass units, load bearing laminated glass pilasters, laminated glass structural beams. Glass manufactured and supplied by Eckelt of Austria, St. Gobain Glass, Rochester Insulated Glass.

Low iron insulated glass units.

Ornamental Metal: 
Custom made stainless steel exterior hand rails and fire-pull bollards by Dante Martinez, Constantino D. Tisi y Hno S.A.I.C., Buenos Aires, Argentina


Exterior Glass Doors by Enclos, Eagan, MN.

Wood doors:
Custom wood doors, side lites, and transoms by Rafael Vinoly Architects. Manufactured by Jefferson Millwork & Design Inc., Sterling, VA.

Sliding doors:
Main entrance curved glass sliding doors by Blasi, Mahlberg, Germany.


Schlage mortise locks


LCN; Rixson

Exit devices:
Blumcraft; CRL; Von Duprin


Cabinet hardware:
Doug Mockett & Company, INC.

Interior finishes

Acoustical ceilings:
USG Halcyon 2’x 2’ and 4’x 4’ ACT
Hunter Douglas Techstyle 2’x 2’ and 2’x 6’ ACT

Stretched Fabric ceilings by Novawall

Suspension grid:
USG 15/16 tee grid, USG Fineline 9/16” bolt slot grid in custom length tees.

Bosch heavy duty 2 ½” extruded aluminum ceiling grid with custom cast and machined intersections.

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork:
Custom laboratory casework by Rafael Viñoly Architects, product development and manufacturing by Lab Crafters, Ronkonkoma, NY

Custom wood millwork and casework by Rafael Viñoly Architects, manufactured by Jefferson Millwork & Design Inc., Sterling, VA.

Paints and stains:

Auditorium walls: Knoll textiles
Rathskeller walls: Pallas textiles
Seminar walls: ArcCom textile

Custom wood wall paneling by Jefferson Millwork & Design Inc., Sterling, VA.

Special surfacing:
Custom color epoxy laboratory bench work surfaces, by Labtops.

Floor and wall tile:
Custom cut Italian balsatina stone flooring by Lorton Stone on main level.

Daltile Rittenhouse Square 3”x6” on Kitchen and Restroom walls.

12”x12” Black porcelain tile by Innovative Marble on restroom floors

Resilient flooring:
Seamless Epoxy rubber terrazzo flooring in laboratory areas by Stonehard, Inc.

Sheet goods by Mannington.

Broadloom and carpet tile by Constantine.

Raised flooring:
Haworth TecCrete

Wood Flooring:
Hornbeam End-cut wood flooring
Mesquite End-cut wood flooring


Office furniture:
Closed offices: Halcon
Open offices: Dtank
Computer open offices: Alea

Reception furniture:

Fixed seating:
Auditorium chairs: Theater Solutions

Side & Lab chairs: Dauphin
Desk chairs: Dauphin & Allsteel
Conference chairs: Tella

DTank & Hawthorne Galleries

Pollack mohair in auditorium and seminar room fixed seating.

Lobby area, downstairs hotel rooms, apartments: Omnia

Upstairs hotel rooms, some pod soft seating and throughout administrative areas: Montis

Pod soft seating areas and administrative area: Arflex

Group leader offices and administrative offices: Brayton

Hotel & Apartments:  Interiors International, Omnia & Montis

Dining Rooms chairs: David Edward & Frag


Interior ambient lighting:
Custom designed wood light beams by Rafael Viñoly Architects, manufactured by Monarch Industries, Inc. Providence, RI

Lutron Lighting


ThyssenKrupp Hydraulic Elevators.


Sloane solar powered infrared lavatory faucets
Watersaver laboratory fixtures with foot pedal operation

Custom Designed Laboratory service bollard system and modular Laboratory casework designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, developed and manufactured by Lab Crafters, Ronkonkoma, NY.