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NASA Glenn Research Center Research Support Building

Enrique Norten/TEN Arquitectos with Andrea Steele/ASA

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

July 2022


TEN Arquitectos/Enrique Norten with Andrea Steele Architecture/Andrea Steele. Team members: James Carse, Hannah Lee, Dichen Ding, Joe Murray, Andrew Schalk, Sonny Patel


Bialosky Cleveland (Architect of Record), Heapy Engineering, General Corporation (MEP/FP), Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, PC (Structural/Sustainability/Exterior Wall), MKSK Studios (Landscape Architect), Bedell Tucci, LLC (Civil Engineering), Cini Little International, Inc (Food Service), Lally Acoustical Consulting LLC (Acoustical Consulting), &estimate (Cost Estimate), Andrea Steele Architecture (Graphics/Branding), Walsh Construction (Construction)


National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Glenn Research Center


Alan Karchmer


The massing of the RSB acknowledges and maintains the scale of the existing research buildings on the campus. The design of the building is formed around a series of linear elements organized in response to the campus context and desired programmatic adjacencies, containing office space for approximately 164 Glenn employees and support service contractors, serving as a campus center.
The main building comprises a mix of dedicated and fluid work areas. A series of both open and private office spaces, meeting, conference, and training rooms, as well as an exchange store distributed throughout the two floors. Enclosed double-height and landscaped internal courtyards will draw natural light deep into the surrounding workspaces and provide additional places to gather. Gesturing towards the campus’ main artery and bisecting these elements over the North-South axis, a raised bridge structure reaches out towards the campus’ main artery, Taylor Road and provides an extended covered plaza leading to the entrance, a communal dining area, collaborative workspace, and a gallery displaying a rotating selection of items from NASA’s prolific archives.
Adept placement of exposed trusses reduces the need for support, thereby enabling transparency that not only floods the interiors with light but connects it visually to the campus with 270-degree views. The design of the exterior landscape, including the establishment of the new “Wright Commons”, aims to celebrate the heart of the historic research campus by drawing people from across the surrounding campus to one location.


NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is an agency of the US federal government, responsible for aeronautics and aerospace research, and the country’s space program. The Glenn Research Center is named after Ohio native John H. Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962. The RSB is part of the center’s Facility Master Plan, a multiyear effort to revitalize the central campus and renovate or replace WWII-era buildings. The birthplace of a wealth of now commonplace innovations, the facility consists of a constellation of buildings, which, despite their semicircular distribution, lacked a central focus. Thus, tasked with creating much-needed office and collaborative space, TEN Arquitectos/ASA opted to create a nexus: a building with amenities and opportunities to engage the entire campus population, serving as both anchor and core.
“If we create architecture that neglects its context and does nothing to activate its surroundings, then we have not actually created architecture at all. We’ve merely created a building.” says Enrique Norten, Founder of TEN Arquitectos. Raising on the main artery of Lewis Field—the center’s primary campus, and a recently minted historic district—the two-story, 60,000SF Research Support Building provides a new and contemporary public face for the home of the country’s most prolific aeronautic and aerospace innovations, creating space for research and collaborative working. This cantilevered structure extends into the main artery of the campus, Taylor Road, creating a large, covered plaza that leads to the main entrance of the building.
NASA is a ‘culture of functionalism’. This building works within the vocabulary of the research infrastructure, like the domes, gravity drops and pipes that weave throughout the campus. Our hope is this building acts as a platform for this community, connecting them to each other, to resources, to their past achievements and future opportunities”, Andrea Steele explains.


The campus consists of a constellation of primarily World War II brick buildings, which, despite their semicircular distribution, lacked a central focus. The much-needed center was designed to create a new and contemporary public face for the home of the country’s most prolific aeronautic and aerospace innovations. The new building will be a node for the campus, serving as both anchor and core, supporting its other facilities – especially along the site’s main Lewis Field artery. Sitting adjacent to the Mission Integration Center, these two buildings are key to creating a Campus Center at Lewis Field, a central destination envisioned to promote innovation and serve as a campus center and gathering location for the Glenn community.
Designed with collaboration in mind, including multiple break-out spaces throughout the building, low partition workstations, and specialized concurrent engineering rooms, the RSB takes an integrative approach to sustainability, workplace evolution, and maintainability. Design and construction of the building operations are focused on meeting modern-day building energy performance requirements.
NASA was awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification in November 2021. The environmental features include extensive natural daylight, low-volatile organic compound emitting materials, and water and energy ysaving fixtures and appliances. The facility also provides bicycle storage, a large balcony for outdoor breaks, and preferred parking for fuel-efficient vehicles. As NASA’s missions evolve and the boundaries of exploration expand, so must the agency’s infrastructure and workforce must adapt to them.

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