National Institutes of Health

Porter Neuroscience Research Center, Phase II

Bethesda, Maryland

Project Info
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland
Completion Date: 2014
Square Footage: 322,000

The Phase II addition to the John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center (PNRC) is a state-of-the-art biomedical neuroscience research facility that enhances interdisciplinary collaboration as a means of facilitating innovation and creativity. This 322,000 square foot (29,920 square meter) facility co-locates researchers from ten NIH Institutes who were previously isolated from one another. The research within emphasizes, and is organized by, major crosscutting themes that are not institute specific, rather what is common about seemingly diverse disorders. The flexible laboratory architecture accommodates research ranging from animal models to cell culture to computer science. The project included renovation and expansion of the existing 25,000 square foot (2,330 square meter) animal vivarium to a total of 30,000 cages. The facility also features a cafeteria, a café, a 350 person auditorium, lab support spaces and a new, state-of-the-art 17.4t imaging suite.

From the outside, the building blends with the campus and the neighboring community. From within, it supports and inspires in a functional and flexible design setting that allows neuroscience to flourish as a leading intellectual enterprise in the post-genomic era. 

The Porter building is a “game changer,” said NIDCD Scientific Director Andrew Griffith. “The layout is one of the best I have ever seen,” he said. “It both figuratively and literally removes walls between groups.” For example, Dennis Drayna (NIDCD), who discovered gene mutations that may lead to stuttering, will be right downstairs from Juan Bonifacino (NICHD), a cell biologist specializing in protein trafficking controlled by those same genes.

A variety of innovative sustainability features were integrated into the facility including geothermal wells; ground source heat pumps; chilled beams; LED lights; and a photovoltaic array which augments energy generation and usage.