The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Farm Apartments in Ashburn, VA, was built to house visiting scientists and their families. Consistent with a collaborative research community, the housing facility was designed with the intention to promote community. Unique interior and exterior spaces encourage interaction in a relaxed non-work environment. The four-story building provides 60 one-and two-bedroom apartments.
The building is closely integrated with its rustic surroundings, utilizing an array of innovative materials and low-impact environmental techniques. These efforts have been rewarded with a coveted LEED®-Platinum for Homes™ certification. The immediate site was carefully chosen, having been previously disturbed during construction of the research building. The existing grading was used to tuck most of the parking below the residential levels. Parking is further buffered by low walls of local riverstone.
The building is organized into four metal-paneled “pods”, which are connected to a cementitious-paneled “spine” at 8-degree angles. This creates a serious of shorter daylighted hallways. The modern exterior indicates a highly efficient rainscreen wall system. The pseudorandom pattern of fenestration on the pods was inspired by gene sequencing strips. All structural and non-structural walls were pre-fabricated and panelized. The composite concrete/steel floor joist system greatly improved durability and efficiency, while minimizing waste. The building is an exemplary model of progressive residential architecture that embraces the natural landscape and environmental sustainability.