The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is a trade association that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of many of today’s most iconic recording companies. The RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists as well as the music labels and distributors that constitute its membership. OTJ Architects seized on the relocation of this lauded association’s headquarters to develop built solutions that would both celebrate the RIAA’s history of advocacy and support the advancement of a mission that has helped chart the course of contemporary music.

Primed at the intersection of a high-efficiency workplace and an intimate performance venue, the design of the RIAA headquarters centers on a double-height mezzanine-level stage, complete with lighting and audiovisual capabilities to rival many of the city’s most sought-after music halls. The space’s 70-person seating capacity is comprised of rapidly reconfigurable furniture, a plywood bleacher that doubles as a volumetric staircase, and high-top tables located on the third-floor balcony. The C-suite, located directly above the stage, also commands panoramic views of the performance space. The remainder of the program features open workstations, glass-fronted offices, and an array of conference rooms, as well as a dedicated, state-of-the-art recording studio.

Like us, the RIAA recognizes that the physical space can act as a powerful tool to communicate and amplify an organization’s mission. Accordingly, our design team approached this project from the perspective of a guided visitor experience and identified a sequence of critical locations where bold graphics, industry memorabilia, and oversized prints would both enhance the space and telegraph the RIAA’s prominence in the annals of contemporary music. Lastly, the design’s restrained, monochromatic palette is energized by a rotating lighting display that imbues the space with vibrant, alternating hues.

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Washington, DC


20,000 RSF


Trade Association


Experiential Design


IIDA MAC Award of Merit
NAIOP DC | MD Award of Excellence

Both high-efficiency workplace and intimate performance venue, the RIAA headquarters features a double-height mezzanine-level stage that rivals many of the city’s most sought-after music halls.