Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization whose mission is to foster values-based leadership in a nonpartisan forum. For their Washington, DC headquarters, the Institute partnered with OTJ Architects to develop strategic solutions that would maximize the organization’s space utilization and produce an environment whose impact stretches beyond the confines of a lecture hall.

The Aspen Institute’s former headquarters presented challenges to the fulfilment of the nonprofit’s goals: insufficiently sized and disconnected conference rooms failed to accommodate the volume of seminar attendees, leaving lectures to be broadcast from one enclosed space to another and depriving many of the ability to engage with a live speaker.

In order to realize the square footage necessary for a conference center that truly advances organizational objectives, OTJ worked with the Institute to standardize and reduce office sizes by implementing high-efficiency furniture layouts. To future proof the workspace against projected growth, team huddle rooms adhere to the same dimensions as private offices and can be converted into such with furniture changes only. This economy of space made it possible to create a flexible, multi-function conference center that spans two floors. Complete with moveable partitions and state-of-the-art audio visual capabilities, the Institute’s new conference rooms can now be rapidly configured to accommodate up to 350 guests on one floor and 200 on the other.

The design of the headquarters takes its cue from the original Institute campus conceived by noted Bauhaus architect Herbert Bayer. An artful study in understatement, the project translates the unique aesthetic vernacular of the Rocky Mountains into an urbane workplace through sculptural gestures and natural materials.

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Washington, DC


91,000 RSF




Experiential Design
Workplace Strategy

OTJ partners with a world-renowned thought leader to develop an urbane workplace that sparks intellectual inquiry and exchange.