Discovery Communications


World Headquarters

Silver Spring, Maryland

580,000 GSF, 53900 M2

Architecture, Lighting Design


Helping to revitalize and redevelop the Washington, D.C. suburb of Silver Spring, the Discovery Communications new headquarters link to a transit center and the general civic life of its neighborhood. Built on a former brownfield site and showcasing a cutting-edge work culture, the facility brings new activity to the area by day—and especially by night.

A unique lighting concept developed by SmithGroupJJR reflects the client's corporate culture as much as the architecture does. After dusk, high-intensity LED arrays in vibrant colors animate the metallic-colored steel panel facades, as well as a metal-mesh-covered stair tower, accenting the curvature and layered forms. A long, antenna-like post calls attention to the artful illumination scheme, making it a glowing and mysterious emblem the building's significance.

Inside, floor-mounted LED panels and strips wash the walls and ceilings, adding energy-efficient, low-maintenance color without filters. DMX preprogrammed controls change the colors and intensity for the interior, while a specialized control system slowly transitions the exterior sources between five different lighting scenes.